Community Redevelopment Agency - May 26, 2020

  1. Minutes

 Community Redevelopment Agency

Regular Meeting

May 26, 2020

 

The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) of the City of Titusville, Florida met in regular session in the Council Chamber of City Hall, 555 South Washington Avenue, on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.


Call to Order/Determination of a Quorum

 

Chairperson Walt Johnson called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Present were Chairperson Walt Johnson, Vice-Chairperson Dan Diesel and Members Greg Aker, Jim Ball, Robert Jordan, Jo Lynn Nelson, and Sarah Stoeckel (Member Nelson made the correction regarding Member Stoeckel at the regular CRA meeting on July 14, 2020 and staff made the correction regarding Member Aker following the approval of the minutes). Members Greg Aker and Sarah Stoeckel attended via telephone. Also, present were Executive Director Scott Larese, Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Attorney Richard Broome, and City Clerk Wanda Wells. Assistant City Clerk Jolynn Donhoff completed the minutes. 


City Clerk Wanda Wells read the procedure for public comment. City Attorney Broome read the temporary meeting rules for public comment and participation during the current COVID-19 pandemic, which were published on the CRA meeting agenda, posted in the lobby of City Hall, etc.


Invocation/Pledge of Allegiance

 

Chairperson Johnson asked for a moment of silence and then led the entire assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. 


Approval of Minutes 

 

Motion:

Member Jordan moved to approve the minutes of the regular Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting on March 10, 2020, as submitted. Member Ball seconded the motion and the roll call vote was:  

 

Member Aker                          Yes

Member Jordan                       Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Chairperson Johnson              Yes

Vice-Chairperson Diesel         Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Ball                           Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 


Special Recognitions and Presentations

 

Launch Now Food Hall Update – Executive Director Larese reviewed the item and information in the agenda packet. Launch Now was renovating the historic bank building and Walker Hotel Apartments at 300 - 310 S. Washington Avenue, with the assistance of the Federal Historic Tax Credit Program. The former bank building was being renovated into office and co-work space. The second and third floors of the former Walker Hotel Apartments were being renovated into 20 boutique apartments. Ms. Hamilton had informed the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) at the October 8, 2019 CRA meeting of Launch Now's plans to apply to the National Park Service to convert the ground floor of the Walker Hotel building from retail space to a food hall. Ms. Hamilton would provide an update to the CRA regarding the National Park Service's ruling on the food hall proposal and an update on the Launch Now development.

 

Laura Hamilton of Launch Now attended the meeting via telephone. She provided the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) members an update on the progress of renovating the building and the implementation of a proposed food hall on the first floor of the old Walker Hotel by a rough opening estimate of January to March 2021 (subject to change due to COVID-19). She advised the purpose of coming to the CRA at this meeting was to ask for funding for or toward the project’s outside improvements. To this, Ms. Hamilton provided and showed a video of the project’s vision and plans for outdoor amenities, with people-centered design principles, like bike racks, outdoor seating, device charging areas, ambient lighting, etc.  

 

Ms. Hamilton further reviewed the Florida Department of Transportation’s jurisdiction on these matters, seeking permissions and funding from various sources, drainage and structural issues outside the old Walker Hotel, etc. 

 

Per Chairperson Johnson’s request, Redevelopment Planner Tim Ford reviewed available funding opportunities through the City and funding that Ms. Hamilton’s project had received thus far. 

 

Ms. Hamilton further requested the CRA to indicate their commitment the project. To this, staff and Chairperson Johnson indicated that Ms. Hamilton would need to complete and submit an application(s) for the City’s façade grant or grants like this one, which required being presented to the CRA for their consideration at future CRA meetings. 

 

Per Member Nelson’s request, Barry Hamilton (spouse of Laura Hamilton) was in-person to answer questions. He described present structural issues with the project’s existing building (old hotel) inside and outside the premises. 

 

Per Member Jordan’s inquiry, Mr. Hamilton indicated the desire to open the entire project to the community at one time versus via an incremental phased opening. 

 

Member Ball discussed public funding of privately owned property, the applicant collaborating with other pertinent government agencies, the importance of having an early and clear sketch of what the project’s representatives envisioned for the project’s completed state, differentiating ownership of improvements made to public property, etc.  

 

Ciarra (“Sierra”) Taylor submitted a public speaking card. She declined to speak. 


Old Business – None. 


New Business 

 

FY 2021 Preliminary Budget – Executive Director Larese reviewed the item and information in the agenda packet. The request was to review and accept the proposed fiscal year (FY) 2021 CRA Preliminary Budget. At the March 2020 Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting, the CRA provided input to staff regarding budget objectives for the preparation of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 CRA Budget. A preliminary budget was required to be submitted to the City Budget Office by April 8, 2020. Staff had prepared a Power Point presentation to go over the proposed preliminary budget. The budget was based on a 5% increase in available revenues from FY 2020. Estimated tax increment revenues would not be known until the Brevard County Property Appraiser's Office released the preliminary taxable values for the CRA by the end of May. The other variable that established the tax increment amount was the General Fund millage rates of the City and County. Staff would update the CRA on the latest tax value and millage rate as they were known and what their effect on the CRA Budget would be.

 

Redevelopment Planner Tim Ford gave a presentation that reviewed the following information:

 

  • Budget process
  • Estimated revenues
  • Debt service
  • Personnel/operating expenses
  • Summary snapshot of costs
  • Capital projects and options via available funding

 

Discussion ensued with staff on questions related to the common loan, interest rates, future financial impacts, taxes, taxable values, reserve funds, opportunity to assist with improvements and attracting more business to the downtown, other programs that offered financial assistance, potentially seeking funding for public/private partnerships, the Launch Now project already received a $100,000 interior use grant, exterior grant funding maximum of $40,000, etc.

 

Stan Johnston submitted a public speaking card. He expressed concerns on budgeting and funding Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB), an audit on the City, a prior proposed parking garage, his calculations, etc. 

 

Motion:

Member Ball moved to accept the fiscal year (FY) 2021 CRA Preliminary Budget, as presented. Member Nelson seconded the motion and the roll call vote was:


Member Jordan                      Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Chairperson Johnson              Yes

Vice-Chairperson Diesel         Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Ball                           Yes

Member Aker                          Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 


FY20 Annual Resurfacing Project Contract Award – Executive Director Larese reviewed the item and information in the agenda packet. The request was to concur with City Council on the contract award of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Annual Resurfacing Project to VA Paving, Inc. from Cocoa, FL, in the amount of $766,105.27 for the construction of paving improvements at various locations within the City of Titusville, including $73,974.92 within the CRA funded by the CRA.

 

On February 14, 2020, the City solicited bids under Bid # 20-B-016 for the construction of paving improvement at various locations within the City of Titusville. Three hundred seventeen (317) vendors were notified via Onvia Demandstar and City's website, resulting in 13 plan holders. The City received six (6) bids, which were opened on March 11, 2020 with a tabulation and information graph that was provided in the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting agenda packet.   

 

On April 28, 2020, the City Council approved the contract award of FY 2020 Annual Resurfacing Project to VA Paving, Inc. from Cocoa, FL in the amount of $766,105.27 for the construction of paving improvements at various locations within the City of Titusville, and authorized the Mayor to execute said contract.

 

At this meeting, it was recommended that the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) concur with City Council on the contract award of FY 2020 Annual Resurfacing Project to VA Paving, Inc. from Cocoa, FL, in the amount of $766,105.27, for the construction of paving improvements at various locations within the City of Titusville, including $73,974.92 within the CRA (boundaries) funded by the CRA.

 

Stan Johnston submitted a public speaking card. He expressed concerns on whether the cost of the proposed paving was included in the prior agenda item and CRA budget, the cost of holding Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meetings, CRA members’ ability to make decisions, unrelated matters that concerned him about non-CRA budget costs of $70,000 he advised and were not related to request at hand. He also felt City representatives would not discuss separate and unrelated items with him.

 

Chairperson Johnson commented in response to Mr. Johnston’s statements, indicating the agenda packet contained the formal budget requirements associated with the proposed paving contract. Chairperson Johnson also felt that Mr. Johnston was incorrect in the references that this citizen made about a document that Mr. Johnston referred to and that allegedly was associated with a cost of $70,000. Chairperson Johnson advised that the citizen’s comments were also not related to the request at hand.  

 

Per Member Nelson’s request, City Attorney Broome responded to Member Nelson’s questions on whether it was legally permissible for the City to spend the citizens’ (public) funds to research whether one citizen was right or wrong on an issue that concerned a citizen.

 

Motion:

Member Jordan moved to approve and concur with City Council on the contract award of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Annual Resurfacing Project to VA Paving, Inc. from Cocoa, FL, in the amount of $766,105.27 for the construction of paving improvements at various locations within the City of Titusville, including $73,974.92 within the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funded by the CRA, as recommended. Vice-Chairperson Diesel seconded the motion and the roll call vote was:


Member Nelson                      Yes

Chairperson Johnson               Yes

Vice-Chairperson Diesel         Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Ball                           Yes

Member Aker                          Yes

Member Jordan                       Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 


Petitions and Requests from the Public Present

 

Stan Johnston commented on his and his family’s personal service in the U.S. military. He then argued that a report did not exist that was allegedly referenced at a prior City Council (not CRA) meeting on matters that concerned him. The alleged cost of the report that he questioned was $70,000. To this, per Mr. Johnston also referenced a contract between the City and Geosytntec Consultants that he advised expired in 2016. Mr. Johnston indicated that he reviewed the Geosyntec report and advised that none of his personal correspondence or concerns were referenced in the Geosyntec report to the City.  

 

Mr. Johnston next asked one CRA and City Council member to resign. 

 

Chairperson Johnson advised that he previously stated aloud (at a prior City Council meeting held several years ago) the cost of a particular Geosyntec Consultant report and that when he did, he also advised that he was unsure of the actual cost when it was mentioned at the meeting. Chairperson Johnson also advised and reiterated that the City had provided the Geosyntec Consultant report to Mr. Johnston many times. 


Executive Director’s Report 

 

Executive Director Larese submitted a written report that included the following information:

  • Launch Now
  • Vandalism 

 

Capital Projects in the Downtown

  • Sidewalk Infill and Repair
  • Street Resurfacing
  • Street Lights
  • Downtown Cameras
  • Spaceview Park Observation/Walkway Pier
  • Commons Parking Lot Landscaping
  • Hanging Vegetation Baskets

 

Ongoing Projects

  • US Highway 1 and SR 406 Corridor Studies
  • Historic Preservation Board
  • CRA Projects Chart

Executive Director Larese polled the Community Redevelopment Agency and asked whether they desired meeting in June or July 2020 (normally/tentatively that would occur on either Tuesday, June 9, 2020 or July 14, 2020). 

 

Motion:

Member Jordan moved to hold the next Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting in July 2020. Member Nelson seconded the motion and the call vote was:


Chairperson Johnson               Yes

Vice-Chairperson Diesel         Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Ball                           Yes

Member Aker                          Yes

Member Jordan                       Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 


Member Ball made a request on behalf of the Titusville Playhouse, who he advised was applying for a particular cultural grant by Friday this week. His request was for the CRA Chairperson to sign a letter of support (non-monetary support only) for the playhouse’s application for the grant. Member Ball advised that he would not financially benefit from the grant or in his association with the playhouse. City Attorney Broome provided guidance having just learned of the request. Member Ball would abstain from voting as a precaution and avoiding any perceived financial interest in the playhouse.  

 

Member Ball advised the grant in question was offered through the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs. 

 

City Attorney Broome recommended receiving public comment on the newly introduced proposition before the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). 

 

Stan Johnston asked why he was not allowed to speak on the CRA’s decision on when to schedule the next CRA meeting. City Attorney Broome advised that the decision when to hold the next CRA board meeting was ministerial and not a proposition, as provided in Florida Statutes. To this, Mr. Johnston declined to comment on the requested letter of support. 

 

Motion:

Member Jordan moved to approve the CRA Chairperson to sign a letter of support (non-monetary support only) for the Titusville Playhouse’s application for the aforementioned cultural grant, as requested. Member Nelson seconded the motion and the roll call vote was:


Vice-Chairperson Diesel         Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Ball                           Abstained from voting

Member Aker                          Yes

Member Jordan                       Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Chairperson Johnson               Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

City Attorney Broome advised that Member Ball would need to complete and submit the appropriate paperwork required when a board member abstained from voting. 


With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 6:37 p.m.