The July 13 regular City Commission meeting was called to order by Mayor Lyons and the opening prayer was giving by Ron Zimmerly. All commissioners were present for this meeting.
First on the agenda was the approval of the June vouchers, bill payment and the May 11 L.P.A and Commission meeting minutes. These were approved 5-0.
Public Hearings, Resolutions, Ordinances and Citizens Concerns
• State Senator Kathleen Passidomo stopped by the Commission meeting “thanking the Commission for their support the the city of LaBelle gave to the delegation in Tallahassee and the whole initiative around SB10.” SB10 authorizes the South Florida Water Management District and the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund to negotiate the amendment and termination of leases on lands within the Everglades Agricultural Area for exchange or use for the reservoir project; requiring certain lease agreements for agricultural work programs to be terminated in accordance with the lease terms; requiring the district to request that the United States Army Corps of Engineers jointly develop a post-authorization change report for the Central Everglades Planning Project; providing requirements for the C-51 reservoir project if state funds are appropriated for the project; prohibiting the use of inmates for correctional work programs in the agricultural industry in certain areas, etc.
She plans to visit the Clewiston City Commission as well as the Hendry County Commission and wants to thank them for their support of the project as well.
The senate was able to accomplish a lot for Hendry County but some items were vetoed by the Governor. The Senate was able to get the funding for the fire station funding for the city as well as funding for Airglades for the county.
Something that was not part of the actual budget but which does benefit Hendry County was with the Harry Chapin Food Bank received funding from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Food Bank did such a great job in the Collier, Lee and Hendry County that the Federal Government, gave all the new funding solely to Hendry County.
One item that Passidomo was concerned about was the potential Constitutional Amendment for Homestead Exemption, a House lead initiative, this will give an additional $25,000 for homes priced at $125,000 or more. Because it would be such a huge impact to physcially constrained counties like Hendry and Glades counties, the Senate was able to have those counties waived from that process so it would not affect the counties but it will affect the cities in the counties. This Amendment will be on the 2018 ballot.
Senators Passidomo and Denise Grimsley are working on a bill that would exempt physcially constrained cities, they have a year before the Amendment is presented to the voters.
Senator Passidomo does have an office in the Hendry County Courthouse and you can reach her representative, Trent Muntz at 863-674-7122.
• Next on the agenda was Kelly Boone of the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation (LDRC), she was seeking premission from the Commission to paint a interactive mural on the Caloosa Belle building at 22 Ft Thompson Street. The mural will be facing Main Street, it will be in the shape of angel wings and will be painted by local artists Marco Ruiz and Carolos Innocente. Preston Long of Frist Baptist Chuch said he loved the idea. The LDRC’s goal is to produce a mural that will reengage the community especially the youth. These types of murals usually do not require much advertising, it will spread quickly over social media. The project was appoved with a vote of 4-1 with Commissioner Zimmerly being the lone negative vote. (A sample of the mural can be seen on page 12 of this weeks paper)
Kelly also thanked the Commission for allowing the LDRC to have the Fourth of July celebration this year.
• Public Hearing on proposed Ordinance No. 2017-16 Belle Arbor P.U.D. – This was the final hearing for the Ordinance which was seeking rezoning on 50 acres adjacent to and in front of Aqua Isles. The Ordinance was approved by the Commission with 11 conditions by a vote of 4-0. Commissioner Wilkins abstained from the vote because of a conflict of interest.
• Public Hearing on Ordinance No. 2017-17 Solar Regulations. The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council several months ago asked the City to put together some regulations in the land development code to support and encourage the use of solar systems for energy in the city. The use of solar power is a right in the state of Florida and the City cannot deny anyone from using solar power. But the City can regulate where the systems are placed, what they look like and how intense they may be in different land use categories. This Ordinance passed with a vote of 5-0.
• First Reading on proposed Ordinance No 2017-18 Selma Daniels Avenue Rezone. Voting on this Ordinance will be at the August meeting.
• Public Hearing on proposed Ordinance No 2017-19 Bryan Avenue Comp Plan Amendment. This was the first reading and voting on this Ordinance will be at the August meeting.
Addition to the Employee Handbook – The Department of Economic Opportunity, the City grant writer, required the City to add the following line to the Statement of Equal Employment Opportunity Philosophy, (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation).