- City Council Meetings
- Special City Council - February 27, 2021
Special City Council - February 27, 2021
February 27, 2021
The City of Titusville City Council met in special session on Saturday, February 27, 2021, at Titusville City Hall, second floor, Council Chamber, 555 South Washington Avenue, Titusville, Florida 32796. The City Council meeting was called to order at 9:02 a.m. Those present in the Council chamber included Mayor Daniel Diesel and City Council Members Robert Jordan, Joe Robinson, and Sarah Stoeckel, Assistant City Manager Thomas Abbate, Assistant City Attorney Chelsea Farrell, several City staff members, and Assistant City Clerk Jolynn Donhoff, who completed the minutes of the meeting. Vice-Mayor Jo Lynn Nelson was absent.
Additionally, approximately 26 citizens were in attendance. This was slightly more than the numbers of persons that signed the citizen (guest) attendance log upon arriving to the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was, as followed:
- Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Community Conversation – Mayor Diesel reviewed the purpose of the special City Council meeting, as provided on the meeting agenda.
Mayor Diesel opened the meeting with encouraging remarks. He advised that Council’s role was to listen to the community. The procedures for this year’s meeting would be different, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the encouragement of 6-feet social distancing and face masks. Mayor Diesel also remarked he was pleased that Titusville was ranked second on the Milliken Report this year for economic soundness, pay, housing costs, and enjoyment of life.
Assistant City Manager Abbate advised that a copy of the City’s Talking Points Magazine, Annual Report, and a list of some of the City’s accomplishments was placed on each citizen’s chair. He then played a video on what was currently happening in Titusville. He also gave a presentation that reviewed the following information, which the citizens might consider when giving input at the meeting and how the city should allocate its financial or other resources for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.
- Agenda for the special meeting
- The City’s Fiscal Year 2021 Strategic Goals and Objectives
- Strategic Planning Model for FY 2022
- FY 2021 Budget Environment
Kristin Bakke from LEAD Brevard facilitated the remainder of the special City Council meeting. She advised that she was charged with objectively seeking the citizens’ input on strategic planning and allocating the City’s resources for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. To this, Facilitator Bakke reviewed the City’s FY 2021 Strategic Goals and underlying objectives for each. Only a couple or a few of the goals would be reviewed that were critical to citizen input. Others goals not discussed at this meeting were persistently pursued by the City, such as Financial Stability.
FY 2021 Goals
- Quality of Life
- Effective and Efficient Services
- Financial Stability
- Economic Development
- Effective Governance
Goal 1. Quality of Life.
Facilitator Bakke sought the citizens’ input on Goal 1. Quality of Life. She allocated approximately 10-15 minutes for the citizens to discuss the goal, keeping in mind these considerations for this and each goal discussed at the meeting:
Following the citizens’ discussion with each other, Facilitator Bakke received the following feedback from citizens on items important to them for FY 2022. To this, the citizens that spoke during the meeting did so from their chairs (while seated) and did not give their names or identify themselves before providing their input.
Infrastructure improvements, like water, sewer, and roads. Look long term and possible bonding and long term revenue resources and funding.
Enhance the City’s appearance and make it shine. Increase Code Enforcement’s budget and strengthen their effectiveness in the City.
The Codes were too lengthy and impossible to memorize. Let’s simplify and streamline the City’s Codes.
Maintain cleanliness to save money in long run (not just a onetime clean-up).
Investigate replacing or eliminating turf grass in medians with ground cover that would be there forever. Use low maintenance landscaping and native vegetation.
Rehabilitate and protect the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). It was in the worst condition ever this year.
Under economic development, provide funding for racial equity. Use economic development funding that could go toward a project and give it to support these matters.
Have more diverse shopping, retail businesses, and restaurants (like Whole Foods and Panera Bread).
People say it was hard to open a business here in Titusville. Make it easier to get permits from the City.
Maintain public access to the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) and protect the IRL.
Correct erroneous flood zone elevations, maintain floodwaters in accordance with the Stormwater Master Plan and federal regulations on floodways and resiliency report. Have a more open and honest government that would return one particular citizen’s phone calls.
Protect existing environmental treasures, parks, and trees. Make sure development did not encroach on these.
Address emergency or police logistics planning and preparation of events, like the influx of tourist that visit during space launches and may trespass in people’s yards. Trespassing was the focus.
Increase public access points to the IRL. Per one citizen, the Titusville Causeway Park or Parrish Park North used to be bigger, but now it was smaller. This reduced river access and parking for persons that enjoyed recreational water sports activities. This received applause.
One citizen’s recollection of consultants from Winter Park, FL were used 1 year ago. They presented a plan. What happened to this plan and what direction did this go? Money must have been spent on them. Facilitator Bakke would address with City staff following the meeting.
Provide internet to all families homeschooling their children during the pandemic. Not all neighborhoods could afford internet. Provide COVID-19 vaccines to the families or to all, too.
Implement one-stop business and development permitting.
Interrupt construction at Rotary Park and add a public access point here for recreational water sports.
Improve local communication for information on events happening in Titusville.
Address an increase in criminal activity and having enough activities for youth, who may turn to crime. Implement youth programs at the Police Department and elsewhere.
Provide learning to youth on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, etc. Also, provide youth activities to keep them out of trouble.
The appearance of an old culvert and overgrown palm trees at U.S. Highway 1 and Highway 50 was not pleasing. Instead, make this area attractive to make a great first impression. Use beautiful signage as used in New Smyrna Beach. It was noted the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) had jurisdiction on these roadways.
There was a previous gateway plan to make this City entrance more attractive. What happened?
The appearance along U.S. Highway 1 was trashy looking. Move City signage away from the trashy area and to where current development was occurring.
Re-use empty buildings.
Have signage at the City’s gateways.
Implement adopt a road programs that businesses supported in their locations, to support beautification and maintenance of roadway areas and attract business.
Facilitator Bakke called for a 5-minute break (recess) at 10:21 a.m.
Goal 4. Economic Development.
Facilitator Bakke sought the citizens’ input on Goal 4. Economic Development. She allocated approximately 10-minutes for the citizens to discuss the goal, keeping in mind these considerations for this and each goal discussed at the meeting:
Following the citizens’ discussion with each other, Facilitator Bakke received the following feedback from citizens on items important to them, for FY 2022.
Be prepared and have plans in place to use federal funding expected from the new federal administration. Use the funding for climate resiliency and climate change. The National Estuary Program had grant writers---utilize these persons to get money.
Improve roads, bridges, and all types of infrastructure.
Muck out ponds. Address how the City can affordably do what was required.
Prepare for sustainable and substantial increased capacity needs like drainage and other infrastructure, which by advance planning, can be supported over time with significant anticipated population growth.
Have developers pay for their own infrastructure (roads, pipes, and utilities). Shift costs to others. Have privately funded impact fees.
Improve or enact low impact development (LID) regulations that would attract persons that wanted to live in more natural surroundings. Seriously pursue LID to solve many stormwater issues and make some of the infrastructure less expensive.
Regarding infrastructure needs, Council should consider re-imposing impact fees. This was one way the City received money. Also investigate economic development initiatives to address blighted areas and buildings. Additionally, consider discontinuing the North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ) created years ago, at a critical time when it was needed. Use the funding of the NBEDZ instead on matters related to racial equity and place it under Quality of Life. The City also needed to take care of its loan(s), too.
Use empty buildings and turn them into business hubs or business incubators. Encourage start-ups and graduate them to incubators. Some grants were available.
Update the outdated boundaries of the Area of Critical Concern. This document(s) had not been updated since the 1980s. Address erroneous flood zones. Address failure to maintain floodways outside the City, as discussed under Quality of Life.
Regarding new development impacts, address the circumference of trees to be permitted for removal. Reduce and prevent nature from being destroyed.
No taxes or impact fees (the facilitator noted mixed opinions in the room). Have communities maintain road maintenance privately, etc.
There was a concern for the amount of time to get a project built in the City. Increase the budget to hire more City planners and resources, in an effort to be prepared and meet development demands. Also, compress the time required to process new developments.
Regarding the NBEDZ and impact fees, those items were put in place under an economic recession. The new mall used as an example. Now, return this funding back to the City to manage future growth.
Because it came up more than once, staff advised that the matter of providing economic development funding to a new business or gun manufacturer had not yet been on the City Council’s agenda or discussed by City Council.
Whether studies were available to understand if a balanced ratio of employment opportunities to new housing and growing population was completed. Economic viability and eliminating blight were also a concern. Another citizen addressed this and that some that work in Orlando chose to live in Titusville, meaning that all persons that lived in Titusville may not work in Titusville.
The community needed more work and technical school training programs to help people fill local job opportunities and community needs.
Knowing what the community was doing to encourage young people to come and stay in Titusville. Working with the University of Central Florida on these matters.
Redeveloping the Sand Point Plaza (a.k.a. old Big Apple plaza). Staff noted there was a current project under review at this location.
Having a paid parking garage for parking in the downtown. One citizen spoke up against this idea.
Goal 2. Efficient and Effective Services.
Facilitator Bakke sought the citizens’ input on Goal 2. Efficient and Effective Services. She allocated a few minutes for the citizens to discuss the goal, keeping in mind these considerations for this and each goal discussed at the meeting:
Following the citizens’ discussion with each other, Facilitator Bakke received the following feedback from citizens on items important to them, for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.
Collaboration on housing and services for homeless individuals or families. Chicago was an example.
Create projects for the unemployed, homeless, or youth, like cleaning along the roadside, cutting grass, cleaning beaches, etc. Insurance and liability may be a concern on these matters, but the idea was still important. Partner with churches, non-profits, and others to make this work.
Incentivize local businesses and the community to assist the homeless.
Collaborate with non-profit and for profit business to attract a technical college (school) in Titusville.
One citizen felt the City had unacceptable engineering practices and was violating laws. The City needed a professional engineer that actively participated in servicing the City (citizens’ concerns).
Increase the budget for stormwater projects, separate from personnel costs. Do this through available methods like taxation and bonds, etc. This was important to prepare for an anticipated population explosion and needs related to sanitary sewer, transportation, etc. Also, be looking for additional funding.
Improve and have effective communications from the City for important news like boil water alerts, sewer spills, meetings, events, etc. Use communication methods like the public schools that send text messages to parents when there was an emergency.
The City utilized several communication modules such as a mobile application for its website, social media, and more. Use the City’s electronic signage in front of City Hall and elsewhere for information on farmer markets, etc.
Bonus question: What was the most important issue the City of Titusville should address in the next year?
In response to some of the citizens’ comments during the meeting, Assistant City Manager Abbate reviewed the City had a back-log and list compiled of “shovel-ready” projects, in preparation of receiving additional federal or State funding, for future growth needs. Additionally, staff advised that impact fees were presently imposed (enforce). Staff also discussed the requirement to review impact fees every 5-years and which reviewed concurrency and future growth planning requirements, recreational space and parks, etc.
One citizen requested researching imposing an impact fee to help the lagoon.
Staff commented on older neighborhoods without stormwater ponds were an issue for the lagoon. This was the reason for the installation and costs associated with baffle boxes located around the City.
As the time allotted for the meeting drew to a close, Assistant City Manager Abbate sought any final public comment and input from the citizens.
- Public Comment –
One citizen discussed funding priorities. This led to a brief discussion on the City’s emergency contingency reserves, having a balanced budget and that financial stability spanned many categories.
Regarding communication, once citizen noted the government could not be fully responsible to take this on fully or carry-out everything.
Advisory boards were also in place to assist with decision making.
On advisory boards and advocacy, one citizen requested not taking authority away from the advisory boards on matters that boards made decisions or recommendations upon.
One citizen distributed information to Facilitator Bakke regarding his concerns on clogged floodways. He felt the City needed a professional engineer to address his concerns.
For future strategic planning meetings with the community, one citizen requested providing a list to the citizens of what programs or projects were working or enforce, the projects that had been completed and whether they were successful, etc.
One citizen discussed his concerns or whether the City was in essence charging a franchise fee to stormwater. This citizen discussed his knowledge of the stormwater utility funding and how it was used. He desired looking carefully that the City was not charging a franchise fee to the stormwater utility. There was a need for money in other places.
Council thanked the citizens for their participation and valuable input.
Mayor Diesel commented on how the private sector determined the types of businesses that were located in Titusville. He also discussed the appearance of the community, goals, real estate market, etc.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at noon (12:00 p.m.).