COUNCIL MEETING, COUNCIL CHAMBERS
FEBRUARY 28, 2008, 7 P.M.
All members were present at Thursday evening’s City Council Meeting.
The following issues were discusses in a public hearing format.
A) REQUEST TO VACATE RIGHT OF WAY – JEFFERSON STREET – SAENGER THEATER
This request was approved unanimously by the council.
B) PROPOSED COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT PLAN AMENDMENT
Two amendments to the plan including inclusion of an area of Intendencia Street and a technology park were approved unanimously.
C) UNIFORM METHOD OF COLLECTING NON-AD VALOREM SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS – FIRE ASSESSMENT FEE
Discussion on the fire fee, which would require each household to pay $377 a year to fund fire services, was opened to council members.
“Our staff did exactly what we asked them to do. We asked them to find ways to fund city projects without resorting to property tax,” Council Member Mike Wiggins said. “Despite all that hard work I can not support it. I am not sure that it is fair.”
Wiggins made a motion to not adopt the resolution. It was immediately seconded by several members of the council.
Dozens of Pensacola residents in attendance applauded.
“There is no use beating a dead horse,” said John Jerralds. “And I believe this horse was dead at the gate. I also cannot support the fire assessment fee.”
Council Member Mike DeSorbo discussed the positive dialog that has come from the process, even though the assessment will not pass.
“The climate at this time (in our community) is just not right for this at this time,” Desorbo said. “People are out of work, folks are hurting. It’s just not right to do this at this time.”
Members of the council pointed out the large number of residents who contacted them about this particular issue.
“I wish (the public) would come down here more often and tell us the things (they) are for and the things (they) are against,” said Council Member Sam Hall. “It is really exciting to see (everyone) down here.
Discussion was opened to the public after Mayor John Fogg made it clear that the issue would not pass.
More than a dozen residents echoed their distaste for the assessment and a few of the council.
“Ya’ll got that thing across the street,” said one resident, referring to the Community Maritime Park. “We got this one. We win. You lose.”
In the end, the Fire Assessment Fee was unanimously voted down by the council members.
Want to go? City Council meetings are generally held on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, at 7 p.m. The meetings take place in the Council Chambers located on the first floor of City Hall, at 180 Governmental Center. Special meetings are held as needed.