Jeremy's Notebook

COW Rundown

June 7, 2013

two-cowsThe Pensacola City Council has a fair amount of meat on the table for Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting. Here’s a taste:

Maritime Park Land Lease – Mayor Ashton Hayward is recommending that the city council approve a lease with Maritime One, LLC—the holding company established by Justin and Greg Beck—for parcel one at the Community Maritime Park. The Becks plan to build a  three-story development that will encompass retail, office and residential.

The lease was negotiated recently by representatives from the city council, the mayor’s office and the Community Maritime Park Associates. The proposed, 55-year lease calls for an annual rental fee of $46,222, and an annual maintenance fee of $3,971.69. Both fees increase 7 percent after 10 years, and 7 percent every five years thereafter.

City staff is estimating that the project will provide the city with $76,252 in tax revenue. Of that amount, $42,807, would go to the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency.

Airport Grant – Recently, the Florida Department of Transportation offered a multi-year grant—totaling $11,090,000—to go towards infrastructure development at the Pensacola International Airport. The money is meant to help fund efforts to develop an air commerce park, and would pay for new taxiways, aprons, roads, parking lots and hangars.

The grant would be split between two years, with $7 million available in fiscal year 2013, and then $4,090,000 available in 2014. The grant is dependent on the city coming up with matching funds. According to staff: “The matching funds will be a collaborative local agreement contingent upon company decisions, associated incentives, and funding from other agencies.”

Council Rules – The city council will be considering the adoption of new rules and procedures. This follows workshops in February and March during which council discussed possible changes to its rules and procedures.

One change being proposed is the dropping of the Committee of the Whole meeting. Instead, council would conduct agenda assemblies—for discussions, not voting—prior to each regular meeting. One impact this would have is the reduction of public comment. Whereas, the public is currently able to comment during COW meetings, no public comment would be taken during an agenda assembly.

The proposed revisions to the council’s rules and regulations also contain other changes in relation to public input. During regular meetings, there are currently two public comment periods. The revisions suggest possibly dropping one of the periods.

Also, members of the public are currently allowed to speak for up to four minutes on any agenda item, and also speak to any subject during open forum. The proposed revisions allow members of the public to speak for either two or three minutes, and limit their comments to addressing council on “any subject with respect to which the Council may pass legislation for a municipal purpose or adopt a resolution concerning the administration of the Council’s business.” The revisions note that “the execution of that policy and the day-to-day operation of the City are not the responsibility of the Council,” and therefore are not fair game for public comment. Also, the revisions specify that no member of the public may transfer unused time to another speaker.

Property Sale to ECUA – The Escambia County Utilities Authority is looking to buy two parcels of city-owned property located off Woodstream Drive. The parcels, totaling 0.19 acres, are used by ECUA to access an existing sanitary lift station. An offer of $21,000—the assessed value—has been made. If the council approves the sale, the revenue generated will be going into the city’s Economic Development Incentives Fund.

Audit Contract – Recently, the council’s audit committee recommended that Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC perform the city’s annual audit. The council will consider approving the committee’s recommendation and awarding the firm a five-year contract.

Disparity Study Update – The council will also be getting a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations contained in MGT of America’s disparity study. The company performed the study last year and is currently under contract to help implement its recommendations.

Monday’s COW meeting will begin at 3:15 p.m. at Pensacola City Hall.

  • Audacious goals June 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    That malfeasance will manifest itself in the budget crisis that will become apparent in fiscal 2014

  • Ames June 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

    When I read about the actions and inactions of local politicos, one word comes to mind. Malfeasance.

  • L.Laird June 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Agenda # 9…City Director of Streets without the Mayors Permission, has order city workers to remove all campaign signs, including Yes signs {relating to reducing city council) from every early voting location. However, the Director did NOT order his city workers to remove Republicans campaign signs during the recent Republican Primary…Who is running the City, the Mayor, or his hired help gone amuck…

  • CJ Lewis June 7, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I am willing to bet that no one on the CMPA or Council has ever read the CMPA’s 2007 Design Criteria Pattern Book, posted in the open on the CMPA’s own webpage, and have no idea that Parcel 1 was designed to accommodate a 4-5 story building of up to 73,500 square feet to include structured parking on the first floor. The Beck sweetheart deal is underwhelming. Does anyone really think that this is all we could get if the CMPA got off its butt and actually marketed the private parcels to a nationwide audience? A bad deal done badly is still a bad deal for the duration of the lease. Not mentioned is that the Council wants to give most of the lease payment to the CMPA depriving city taxpayers of even more revenue. This is why the CMPA Trustees all need to be removed and replaced by Council members so city voters have clear accountability for this mess at election time.

    If you believe the voter-approved Charter for the City of Pensacola, the city’s constitution and supreme law, the Council is “the governing body of the City.” Just as in Washington and Tallahassee, the buck stops with the legislative branch of government that has a duty to exercise legislative oversight. What is being suggested by the Council is that if Hayward or any future Mayor does something bad like the IRS scandal in Washington DC, we the people cannot complain to the Council. I would like our ceremonial figurehead Council President P.C. Wu to cite the name of a single municipality in Florida where the Council has washed its hands of all responsibility for what a Mayor or City Manager does or does not do. Further, is the Council now going to force Hayward to exercise his constitutional duty “to attend all meetings of the City Council”? I doubt it.