The City of Lake Butler Commissioners held their first monthly meeting on the new date and time this past Tuesday, April 18th at 6:00pm. The new time and day was approved previously in hopes to make it easier for citizens interested in the meetings to be able to attend them.
This month’s meeting began with Mayor Sirmones calling the meeting to order and doing roll call for the commissioners and city staff. Everyone was present. City Manager, Dave Mecusker then offered a prayer, and everyone followed with the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Sirmones then asked for a motion to approve the agenda format, in which Commissioner Redman made the motion, with Commissioner Browning seconding the motion. All were in favor, and the agenda format was approved.
Next on the agenda was the opening of the floor for citizen comments. Virginia Menges from the Character Program brought a Certificate of Appreciation to the City Commission for their support of the program which helps local students in first through fourth grade. She thanked the City Commission for their support for the last five years.
Following the presentation of the certificate was the consent agenda, and financial reports for March. Commissioner Schenck brought up the Code Enforcement process, indicating that some property owners are not taking care of business in resolving their issues. He asked if they could be used as an example for the city to do what needs to be done to have the issues corrected and send the property owners the bill. He followed in saying, “at some point we have to draw the line in the sand”. The City Manager, Mecusker, responded by saying that certified letters had been sent, but no satisfactory compliance has been made. He then indicated the next step would to bring the property owners before the Code Enforcement Board. The Consent Agenda was then approved, followed by the approval of the financial reports for March and the budget amendments.
The City Manager then discussed the next agenda item, the Paint the Town Purple Proclamation. It is part of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event. Commissioner Cason made the motion to approve the proclamation for the City of Lake Butler to Paint the Town Purple on Friday, April 21, 2017. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Redman.
The Lake Butler FFA AG Issues Team was present during the meeting this evening to do a presentation entitled, “What’s the Buzz About Bees”. The team discussed the issue at hand with the decrease in the honey bee population.
The next agenda item discussed the plans for future renovation work to begin on Fletcher Myer’s Park in Lake Butler. Recently, Lakeside Park as well as Westside Park have been renovated, including newly updated restroom facilities, fresh paint on the pavilions, and, at Westside Park, a new regulation sized basketball court. City Manager Mecusker recommended that the commission approve the contract to allow Andy Easton to perform the work. Commissioner Schenck made the motion to approve the contract, with Commissioner Browning seconding the motion. Following this was the discussion of the City Manager’s contract being extended for six months, which would have his contract ending on February 24, 2018. Motion to approve the City Manager’s contract extension was made by Commissioner Cason, seconded by Commissioner Schenck.
Agenda item eight of this meeting was just a discussion that the Lake Butler Development Corporation had made a request for easement of public utilities. Mecusker made it known that it was just a discussion, nothing was platted or officially planned at this time. The property discussed is the land across SR121 from Hardee’s.
Before closing of this month’s meeting, City Manager, Mecusker brought up a couple of upcoming events happening in Lake Butler. The first being the next Lake Butler Family Movie Night, this Saturday, April 22nd at 6:30pm. The next Farm Share food distribution is set for Saturday, May 13th from 9:00am until 11:00am at Lakeside Park. Mecusker also brought up the idea of the City Commission hosting an audit workshop with the city’s CPA, Mr. Powell. It had been mentioned by the CPA that discussing the audit during a regular city meeting just did not provide enough time to thoroughly go over the details, and holding a workshop would be a better option. The workshop would be open to the public as well. Direction was given to Sara Owen to get with the CPA and confirm the date and time for the audit workshop, once confirmed it would be publicly advertised.
For the closing remarks by the Commissioners, Commissioner Cason discussed the on-call staff, particularly the ones during the weekend. He mentioned an issue that occurred this previous Saturday at the Splash Park. He advised that he would like to see that each on-call staff member have training on the operations of the Splash Park. Dave Mecusker brought up that they all had the training, to which Commissioner Cason said, “send them back!” Commissioner Schenck’s closing comments involved the city’s Code Enforcement Board. He indicated that it was brought to his attention two or three months ago that one of the board members was allegedly not living in the city limits, which is one of the requirements of being on the Code Enforcement Board, that you be a resident within the city limits of Lake Butler. He said when it was brought up previously, the member had said she would be moving back into the city limits, was only living part time outside of the city. Commissioner Schenck advised he had made it his business since then to observe where she was allegedly living and had found she has been living out at the old Clark’s Grocery, outside of town. He advised there is no way that she could be making any decisions or passing any judgement on anyone living in this community that comes before the Code Enforcement Board as one of the qualifications is that you live in the city. He then asked that either the Mayor or City Manager contact the individual and request her resignation. The City Manager, Mecusker, mentioned that the City Commission appoints and can remove anyone on the Code Enforcement Board. Commissioner Cason added that if she resigned that the Commission would not have to take action, but if she rebutted the request then they would have to add it to the next agenda. Mecusker added in that it was requested that she attend this evenings meeting, but she did not come. Commissioner Cason asked how the wording was in the ordinance and was told it clearly said “live within the city”, in which he said if she doesn’t live in the town of Lake Butler then it was a moot point, she needed to resign, be removed or the city needed to change how the ordinance reads.
In continuing with his closing remarks, Commissioner Schenck asked the City Manager to reach out to the Public Works Director to ensure he is having the city right of ways and properties be properly maintained. He indicated that he felt stupid in asking citizens to maintain their properties when the city doesn’t maintain their own. Schenck also asked that it be mentioned that when the cemetery is being mowed that whomever is on the mowers take care and not hit the headstones. He indicated that several had been moved, and with the size of them that they could only have been moved by something mechanical. Commissioner Cason added that the best thing to do is to keep the zero-turn mowers out of the cemetery. Commissioner Schenck also asked the City Manager if the Publics Works Director had gotten with him on the fire hydrants. Mecusker replied that he had several of the documents completed and on his desk. He said he was waiting until he got more back in before turning them in.
Commissioner Redman advised she had no closing comments, and Commissioner Browning also had no closing comments. Just before adjournment, city resident Vernon Dukes spoke up to ask if the city had any further information regarding the damage being done to the city streets by the large trucks used by the current garbage company. Commissioner Schenck answered in saying he believed that based on the last time they had met with the garbage company that he felt they had come to the understanding that there was no doubt that their trucks were causing the damage to the streets. He said that they were waiting on an estimate for repairing the intersections that have been damaged. Mr. Dukes commented back indicating that the streets here were not built to handle these large trucks. Commissioner Schenck replied that he was aware of this and that the only alternative would be for the garbage company to put smaller trucks in use in Lake Butler, but the city would have an increase in service fees as the contract did not specify a size of truck or equipment to use. Mr. Dukes then asked if the city was sure that the garbage company would be responsible for the repairs to the damaged streets. He said, “over a period of two and half more years we won’t have anymore paved city streets”. Commissioner Schenck added in that the city’s public works people were working on an estimate for replacing the worst intersection with a structure of concrete and rebar to handle the trucks and then provide an estimate of that cost to the garbage company.
Commissioner Cason then made the motion to adjourn, seconded by Commissioner Schenck. The next City of Lake Butler Commission meeting will be at 6:00pm on Tuesday, May 16, 2017