Monday, April 29, 2013

Wednesday Workshop Meeting Agenda [UPDATE]

An agenda for the upcoming City Council workshop meeting was finally posted to the City website this afternoon. You can read the full agenda here. This meeting will be held Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30 a.m. Here's what the lucky attendees have in store:

Belle Isle Gateway Presentation by Hahn & Hahn

Hahn & Hahn Hardscaping/Landscaping Concepts AKA Hahn and Hahn Team, Inc. will be presenting at the Wednesday meeting, apparently on the proposed "Belle Isle Gateway" project. According to Belle Isle public records, there are two phases to the Gateway project:

Phase 1:  Build large "gateway" construction at the intersection of South Conway Road and Hoffner Avenue.

Phase 2:  Produce design guidelines so that other Belle Isle "gateways" of varying sizes can be installed around the City.

The final cost of this project is unknown. It is clear from the Hahn & Hahn proposal that the initial cost will be $25,000.00, for which Belle Isle will receive "30% Complete Design Plan Schematics/Concepts for Hoffner/Conway Gateway" and "Design Guidelines for City of Belle Isle Gateways." This means that it is going to cost significantly more just to get a 100% complete design plan for the Hoffner/Conway gateway. And that's before we even start building.

Phase 2 of the project indicates that City Hall's plans don't end at the Hoffner/Conway gateway, but that it has plans to build similar structures at all the entrances to Belle Isle. So while City officials try to sell us their fire department and annexation proposals on promises that residents might save a few tax dollars, it plans to spend those imagined savings many times over on a massive capital improvement project building new signs all over the City. Read more about the Belle Isle Gateway project at records.belleislesun.org under "Belle Isle Gateway."

Approval of Past Meeting Minutes

Next, the council will approve the minutes for the past two months worth of Council meetings. Meeting minutes are typically completed and approved within one month to ensure Sunshine Law compliance. No formal statement has been issued by the Council as to why the March 5 meeting minutes took nearly two months to prepare and approve. You can see the minutes up for approval attached to the workshop meeting agenda.

Vice-Mayor Election

The Council elects a new Vice-Mayor from the seven Belle Isle Commissioners each May. This election will take place at the Wednesday workshop meeting. For those interested in reading more, below are the relevant sections from the Belle Isle City Charter specifying the election process and duties of the Vice-Mayor:

Sec. 4.03. - Vice-mayor: Election.

At the first council meeting in May, after each regular city election, or whenever a vacancy occurs, the council shall elect one of its members as vice-mayor. While serving as acting mayor, the vice-mayor shall not have a vote on any matter coming before the council.

Sec. 4.04. - Vice-mayor: Duties, term and appointment of council member [commissioner].

During the absence or disability of the mayor, the vice-mayor of the council shall perform the duties of the office of mayor and during such time shall not serve in the capacity of a commissioner. In the case of the death, resignation, removal of the mayor, or a prolonged disability that is expected to last beyond the normal term of the mayor, the vice-mayor shall perform the duties of the office of mayor until the next regular election. At the next regular election, an election for a new mayor shall be held for the unexpired portion of the original mayor's term.

Upon assuming the duties of the office of mayor, the vice-mayor shall appoint a temporary commissioner, in accordance with section 3.07 of the city charter, to fill the vacancy created by the vice-mayor serving as acting mayor. However, the temporary commissioner shall only hold office until the next regular election or the vice-mayor reassumes the office, whichever first occurs.


City Manager's Report

The City Manager will be reporting on the following matters:
  • the "Orange County/Belle Isle Third Amendment to Inter-local Agreement for Fire Protection and Rescue Services"
  • speed limits in Belle Isle neighborhoods (Council discussion)
  • a City resolution to amend the city budget and create a "Charter School Debt Service Fund"
You can find the proposed amendment to our Inter-local Agreement for Fire Protection and Rescue Services, as well as documents regarding the Charter School Debt Service Fund, attached to the workshop meeting agenda.

City Attorney's Report

The City Attorney will be reporting on the following matters:
  • the Belle Isle City Manager's contract
  • a Belle Isle "De-annexation Petition"
Nothing more is known at this time.

Commissioner Readey's Report

The proposals discussed in the "Restoring Democracy" articles will be up for Council discussion, including:
  • publication of candidate filing dates by mail and on the City website
  • elimination of the Mayor's ability to appoint replacement Commissioners upon resignation
  • a "Performance Work Appraisal" (PWA) evaluation process for the City Manager
Additionally, the Council will discuss issuance of a proclamation clearly eliminating the Belle Isle Fire Department development process.

Commissioner Shuck's Report

Commissioner Shuck will be discussing a process for building and extending brick walls along Hoffner Avenue (Lake Conway Estates) and Gondola Avenue.

The workshop meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1. As you can see, this is going to be a big one, with many important items up for Council discussion. Resident comments are not permitted at workshop meetings, so just come to listen, learn and support the Commissioners who support you!



UPDATE 4/30/13:  Because the copy of the $25,000.00 "Gateway" contract I received from City Hall was not signed by the City Manager (see records.belleislesun.org), I assumed in this article that the City had not yet entered into a contract with Hahn & Hahn for the Gateway project. However, at least one Sun reader believes that the contract has already been signed by the City and that Hahn & Hahn will be presenting on the project's results at Wednesday's meeting. This is based on the fact that the Hahn & Hahn contract calls for a completion date in March 2013, and Wednesday's meeting would be a logical time to present the results. I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Also, I had a couple questions from readers regarding the location of Wednesday's 8:30 a.m. Council meeting. All City Council meetings are held at Belle Isle City Hall unless otherwise noted. The address is 1600 Nela Avenue (click address for map).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Annexation Alert, Part 2: Who Is Pete Madison? [UPDATE]

As described in my prior annexation article, I was initially made aware of the City's annexation plans through rumors from Belle Isle residents - rumors which were eventually confirmed by my February 27 public records request. These annexation rumors were often tied to the name "Pete Madison" as well as some sort of race track in Taft. As I attempted to decipher this information and track it to its source, a Sun reader alerted me to a January 16 Facebook post by Vice-Mayor Lydia Pisano, in which she states:

"Pete Madison is a great guy, we are looking at annexing the CFRC, amongst other properties."

I have since learned that "the CFRC" refers to the Central Florida Road Course, a drag racing strip owned by Belle Isle resident Peter Madison, as well as Beverly Madison and their business associate, John Russell. (Source: Florida Department of Corporations). Mr. Madison, through his company, Taft-Vineland Properties, Inc,, also owns a number of other Taft properties which may be included in City Hall's annexation plans.

Under Florida annexation laws, City Hall could not annex just the track by itself, but would also have to annex all the properties leading up to and surrounding it. So, to annex the CFRC, Belle Isle would have to annex all the industrial and corporate properties leading up to the track, including Rachel's. The below map, produced for City Hall, shows how much industrial and corporate property Belle Isle would have to absorb just to include the CFRC within its city limits (dark section at bottom left of map):


And these are only the properties that City officials are seeking to annex in Taft. Documents produced by City Hall in response to public records requests indicate that the planned annexation does not stop at Taft, but that City officials have much broader plans for the areas surrounding Belle Isle. These documents can be found in the Annexation section of records.belleislesun.org.

Why would City officials be interested in annexing a race track, not to mention a strip club? Our residential community obviously has no place for the now-defunct CFRC race track. Southchase, the neighborhood presently harboring the CFRC, recently banned it from operation due to noise and safety complaints, as well as resident concerns that it would decrease local property values. (Source: Central Florida News 13).

City Hall's push to annex the CFRC appears to coincide with the track's recent shutdown. This fact has fueled many Belle Isle residents' suspicions that City officials plan to allow the track to resume operation once the annexation process is complete. Although I have not yet been able to confirm these suspicions, it is clear that the CFRC property has no apparent value unless it is allowed to resume operation as a race track.

Is this your vision of Belle Isle? In my prior annexation article, I suggested contacting your elected officials about City Hall's annexation plans. 

I would also suggest attending the City Council workshop meeting on Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30 a.m. The Council may choose to address the annexation issue due to the number of residents speaking out about it. However, there is no way to be certain because the meeting agenda has not yet been posted to the City website. Regardless, you should come out to the Wednesday meeting to support Commissioner Harvey Readey as he helps us take the first steps towards Restoring Democracy in Belle Isle!

UPDATE 4/28/13:  I was contacted by a few local residents who were under the impression that the CFRC had been sold and is no longer owned by Pete Madison. While the CFRC property was technically sold on December 28, 2012, Orange County Property Appraiser records reveal that this was actually a transfer from Taft-Vineland Properties, Inc. to Cosmonaut Holdings, LLC, a company owned by Taft-Vineland Properties. In other words, Pete Madison transferred the property from his company to its own subsidiary. (Source: Orange County Property Appraiser, Florida Department of Corporations).

If you have reviewed the annexation documents at records.belleislesun.org, you may have noticed that they contain a study performed by Compass Development Management, Inc. This study was commissioned by City Hall to evaluate the feasibility of annexing a huge area of Taft. One astute Sun reader recently noted that this study was apparently provided by Compass Development to only one person outside of City Hall: Pete Madison.

Additionally, this report contains a map of the actual area proposed for annexation in Taft. To avoid any potential confusion, the previous "rough estimate" map in this article has been replaced with the actual annexation map produced by City Hall. See the entire feasibility report at records.belleislesun.org.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Belle Isle Coffee Connection [UPDATE]

Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke is hosting his first "Belle Isle Coffee Connection" meeting on Friday, April 26, 2013 from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. It will be held at Dixie Belle's Cafe, located at 7125 S. Orange Avenue, just south of Nela on Orange.

Commissioner Clarke invites all Belle Isle residents to join him for a cup of coffee while discussing your local concerns. This is a great opportunity to have a voice in Orange County government and meet with some of your Belle Isle neighbors.

Please join me in welcoming Commissioner Clarke to our small town. I hope to see you there!

UPDATE 4/24/13:  Please note that Commissioner Clarke will be holding weekly coffee events throughout Orange County. He plans return to Belle Isle every 4-6 weeks for future "Coffee Connection" meetings. Keep reading The Belle Isle Sun to receive notices of these and other important local events!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Restoring Democracy In Belle Isle, Part 2 [UPDATE]

Fellow residents, it appears that our efforts to restore democracy in Belle Isle are having an effect! As you may recall, on April 4, Commissioner Harvey Readey requested that the Council address a number of issues raised by Belle Isle residents, including:

  • publication of candidate filing dates by mail and on the City website
  • an evaluation process for the City Manager
  • elimination of the Mayor's ability to appoint replacement Commissioners upon resignation

You can read the complete text of Commissioner Readey's April 4 correspondence to the Mayor here:  Restoring Democracy in Belle Isle [UPDATE]

These proposals are absolutely crucial to restoring representative democracy in Belle Isle. That is why it is so encouraging to learn of a recent email from Mayor Brooks to Commissioner Readey in which the Mayor indicated his willingness to address these issues. According to Mayor Brooks, the above proposals will be discussed at the next City Council workshop meeting on Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30 a.m.

Although citizen comments are not typically permitted at workshop meetings, your attendance is still crucial to show that we are committed to this cause. Come and show your support for Commissioner Readey and any other City Council members who back these proposals!

UPDATE 4/22/13: Apparently, Council workshop are not always held on the last Wednesday of each month as I previously reported. The upcoming Council meeting is actually scheduled for Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30 a.m. The date in the original article has been corrected - sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Annexation Alert!

For months, I have been hearing rumors that City Hall is pursuing annexation of many surrounding areas, including annexation of a large portion of Taft. Trying to determine the truth of these rumors, I requested from City Hall all documents and communications regarding its annexation plans. I first posted about these records back on March 22. All public records provided by City Hall can be found at records.belleislesun.org under "Annexation." The provided records confirm that City Hall is indeed pursuing annexation of a large number of surrounding areas, including Taft.

Seeking more information, I asked Commissioner Harvey Readey what he knew about the City's annexation plans. Commissioner Readey is always happy to share his knowledge of City Hall's plans with any resident who cares to inquire. Maybe that's why they don't seem to tell him much. Commissioner Readey stated that he doesn't know of any present annexation plans, but cautioned that he and many of the other Commissioners may not learn about the City's annexation plans until the day that those plans are put up for hasty Council consideration.

In a conversation with Belle Isle resident Sue Nielsen, I learned that she too been inquiring about City Hall's annexation plans. After the Council meeting on April 2, Mrs. Nielsen questioned Vice-Mayor Lydia Pisano about the City's annexation plans. Vice-Mayor Pisano stated in no uncertain terms that City Hall has major plans for Taft.

According to Vice-Mayor Pisano, Taft is such a large area compared to the present size of our city that voters in Belle Isle would have to approve the annexation. She stated that residents would never approve the annexation because, among other reasons, the proposed region contains Rachel's, our friendly local "steakhouse." She went on to indicate that the only way City Hall would be able to annex the region was to break it into many smaller segments, annexing it one piece at a time. Perhaps realizing she had said too much, Vice-Mayor Pisano then quickly changed the subject.

Put together, these statements paint a clear picture. City Hall plans to annex Taft, and possibly other areas, right under our noses. Just like the fire department and charter school before, it plans to go through with another project that it knows residents would never approve if actually asked. In the words of Mrs. Nielsen, "It is amazing to me how much the city officials manage to consider doing without ever seeming to discuss it in a meeting, or publicizing it to the citizens."

As I consider the effects of these annexation plans, I can't stop thinking about riding my bike around Belle Isle as a child. My friends and I would try our hardest to get lost. And every once in a while, we would succeed for a moment. Like the first time we wandered into Belle Isle West. But we knew that we would always be safe and able to find our way home so long as we stayed within the confines of our little hometown.

This is my personal vision for Belle Isle. Other residents might have a different vision, and that is fine. If annexation is what the residents of Belle Isle want, then I am all for it. But the idea of City Hall slipping through more massive changes to our City without the knowledge or consent of its residents does not sit well with me. We deserve better from our elected representatives.

What can you do to make sure you get a say in Belle Isle's annexation plans?

Contact your Commissioner - or all the Commissioners - and tell them that you don't want annexation without resident knowledge and consent. If City Hall wants to propose annexation, then it needs to be forthright about its plans.

Keep attending City Hall meetings. Resident attendance is quickly rising. The more of us that attend, the more our elected officials must listen to and take notice of our wishes. Regular meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. Workshop meetings, where upcoming plans are often first discussed, take place on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 8:30 a.m. All votes are required take place at regular meetings unless City Hall convenes a special meeting.

If you want to receive notice of all upcoming special meetings as well as other important Belle Isle news, be sure to sign up for The Belle Isle Sun Newsletter and/or our Twitter feed (@belleislesun)!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Restoring Democracy in Belle Isle [UPDATE]

If you read my summary of the April 2 City Council meeting, you already know that Belle Isle resident Dr. Stuart Bernstein proposed a City ordinance which would require publication by mail of the qualification deadlines for our Belle Isle elected officials, including the Mayor and Commissioners. Dr. Bernstein's proposed ordinance is based on Orlando ordinances 21.06 and 21.08, linked below. You can see the complete text of Dr. Bernstein's proposed ordinance in his open letter:

Dr. Stuart Bernstein Open Letter - April 2, 2013

Orlando Ordinances 21.06 & 21.08

Commissioner Harvey Readey has already voiced his support for such an ordinance. We will need to get more Commissioners on board in order to get this proposal in front of the Council and passed, a process that could be made more difficult if the Mayor attempts to block public hearing on the matter.

As we move forward with Dr. Bernstein's proposal, I think it makes sense to also address a related issue raised by Commissioner Readey, who stated that "only three (I was elected) of the seven Commissioners now serving  were elected. The rest were recommended by the Mayor and approved by the Council majority vote as currently required by our City Charter. I have attempted to change the charter so that when a Commissioner resigns before their term has ended we hold a special election for replacement unless we are within 6 months of the end of the 3 years term. The Mayor and most of the Council have rejected this proposal. That concerns me to this day."

In further discussions with Commissioner Readey, I learned the history of Mayor Brooks' power to appoint Commissioners in Belle Isle. When Mayor Brooks was first elected, the City Council became concerned with his broad exercises of power. In an effort to curtail the Mayor's ability to singlehandedly govern our City, the Commissioners attempted to amend the City Charter to limit the Mayor's powers.

However, Mayor Brooks blocked the Council's efforts to amend the City Charter until the Council finally granted him one major concession - the ability to "recommend" replacement Commissioners when one Commissioner left before the expiration of his or her term. In this manner, Mayor Brooks preserved much of his power to govern Belle Isle without checks or balances on his authority. By "recommending" Commissioners in line with his own goals, the Mayor has been able to accomplish almost every one of his plans without significant Council opposition.

It's time for a change. It's time for open local elections with real competing candidates. It's time to restore democracy in Belle Isle. Therefore, I hereby announce formation of a citizen's group committed to these goals. Commissioner Readey has already pledged his support, sending the following correspondence to the Mayor earlier today:

==================
Mayor Bill Brooks,

Certainly it our duty to be responsive to those faithful citizens now taking active parts in our Council meetings and to those we represent. This is a good thing. To that end here are items fellow citizens want us to address which I respectfully ask you to place on the next City Council workshop agenda:

Generate a Performance Work Appraisal (PWA) to evaluate our City Manager. Each Council member will do an independent appraisal. A weighing factor for each parameter on the appraisal should be in place. I am well qualified to chair this effort  and  volunteer to do so if the council desires.  As you know the PWA is a  most objective methodology leading to a fair salary offer when the time comes to do so soon. The public should also be invited for comment and should be allowed to monitor the entire process.

To review the publication process and filing dates for city official elections. It has been suggested that six months prior to the filing dates for elective positions, the mayor issue proclamations listing positions to be elected. The proclamation should be published by mail to all Belle Isle residents as well as posted on the City Website.

To review the existing process for replacing an elected official when he or she resigns before their terms expire.

A proclamation by council to eliminate the Fire Department.

Respectfully yours,

Harvey Readey - District 5 Commissioner
=============

Now here's what you can do to support this cause:
  1. Call or email your Commissioner and tell them you support Dr. Bernstein's ordinance and a charter amendment requiring open election of replacement Commissioners upon retirement. If you copy me on your emails (contact@belleislesun.org), I will post your comments to the Sun. You can find your Commissioner's contact info listed here:  Representative Map & Contact Info
  2. Make a public comment at the next Council meeting, held on the first Tuesday of each month. The more citizen comments, the better. At the March 5 meeting regarding the fire department, you saw what determined citizens can accomplish just by speaking. Now it's time to tell the Mayor and the Council that we want real elections in Belle Isle!
  3. Know anyone who lives in Districts 1 or 7? [map linked here] The registration deadline for anyone who wants to run as Commissioner in either of those districts is November of this year. Let's find some candidates so that we can have an actual vote in March 2014!
  4. Stay up to date with all the latest news on this topic at The Belle Isle Sun. These things can move quickly, so sign up for my newsletter or Twitter feed (@belleislesun) to make sure you are notified whenever something new is posted!
  5. Email me at contact@belleislesun.org if you'd like to participate in this cause!

UPDATE 4/5/13:  I previously stated that it was the Commissioners in Districts 1 and 2 that are next up for election. This has been corrected to read Districts 1 and 7. These are two of the districts that surround Hoffner Avenue. See the high-resolution district map for more information:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

City Council Meeting Summary - April 2, 2013

This is intended as a brief summary of the Belle Isle City Council meeting that took place on April 2, 2013:

Citizen Comments

The meeting opened with citizen comments. A number of residents spoke, including myself. Many asked questions and made statements regarding the Belle Isle fire department project.

Dr. Stuart Bernstein spoke to propose a new City ordinance requiring publication by mail of the qualification deadline for our Mayor and City Commissioners. His proposed ordinance is based on Orlando ordinances 21.06 and 21.08, linked below. You can see the complete text of Dr. Bernstein's proposed ordinance in his open letter:



City Financial Report Presentation

After citizen comments, Kelly Leary of McDermit Davis made a presentation to the Council on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ending September 30, 2013. She described her report as an "unqualified opinion," which she explained to mean an opinion based on financial statements that accurately reflect the City's financial position.

One interesting fact revealed by Ms. Leary is that City Hall has failed to submit approximately $380,000 in building permit fees collected from Belle Isle residents to Orange County. Mayor Brooks explained that this was because the City was awaiting the outcome of a court case in Broward County regarding whether some of those building fees must be paid back to the city by the county. Ms. Leary strongly recommended that those fees be paid to the county immediately.

With regard to the present financial state of Cornerstone Academy, Ms. Leary stated that revenues were "slightly higher" than expenditures at the charter school. There was also significant Council discussion regarding the potential financial impact of catastrophic weather damage to the school.

If you would like further information about the financial state of our City, please refer to the full text of the financial report, which has been posted to records.belleisle.com under "Financial Reports."

Belle Isle "Special Events" Ordinance 13-06

The final issue addressed by the Council was the second reading and adoption of the City's proposed "special events" ordinance. Ordinance 13-06 requires residents to purchase a special permit from City Hall for any events meeting the qualifications in the ordinance. The cost of this permit will depend on the services that the City Manager and Chief of Police determine will be needed for the event, as well as a fee schedule to be set by the Council on a future date. The Mayor strenuously stated our City's need for such a law due to problems caused by recent large parties and filming events.

During citizen comments on the proposed ordinance, I noted to the Council some problems with the ordinance as written. Despite reassurances from the Mayor that this ordinance would not be enforced against block parties or similar private events, the text of the ordinance explicitly refers to "block parties," "lake parties," and "fireworks displays."  Also, any parties utilizing “amplified sound” or "high intensity lighting" would be required to obtain a permit under the ordinance. These vague terms could apply to just about any private party or event in Belle Isle.

Commissioner Readey expressed similar concerns about the "special events" ordinance. He strongly urged the Council to revise the ordinance to make sure that it was clear which events would require the host to obtain a permit. Commissioner Readey further expressed his opinion that Belle Isle has never required such an ordinance in the past, and there is no strong evidence that it is needed now.

At the conclusion of the Council's discussion, the "special events" ordinance was passed with two minor modifications. On page 1, line 24, the word "shall" was changed to "may." The effect of this change is to prevent events utilizing “amplified sound” or "high intensity lighting" from being automatically required to obtain a permit under the ordinance regardless of the size of the event. The other change is to add the term "waterway" to page 6, line 11, in order to ensure that lake events will be covered under the ordinance. The new City Attorney approved these last minute changes because, in his opinion, they were not substantive changes requiring a new reading of the proposed ordinance. All Commissioners voted in favor of the ordinance, except Commissioner Spaulding, who was absent, and Commissioner Readey, who voted against the ordinance. You can read the full text of Ordinance 13-06 (before changes) in the meeting agenda:


March 5 Meeting Minutes

As always, you should refer to the City minutes for the official record of this meeting. Unfortunately for those interested in reviewing the City's minutes from the March 5 Council meeting at Cornerstone Academy, those minutes were not reviewed and approved at tonight's meeting. You can see on the City website that regular meeting minutes are typically approved at the Council workshop meeting held approximately three weeks later. At the latest, they are approved at the next regular Council meeting the following month.

Upon being questioned as to why the March 5 minutes were not approved at this Council meeting, Vice-mayor Lydia Pisano explained that the March 5 minutes were not yet prepared for reading and approval by the Council. She indicated that this was because there was too much material from that meeting for City Hall to compile in one month, although at least one City Commissioner was skeptical of this explanation. Regardless, I will let you know when the March 5 minutes are approved and available.

As always, email me at contact@belleislesun.org with your thoughts. I welcome comments, criticism, questions and story tips!

Monday, April 1, 2013

City Council Meeting Agenda - Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Just a friendly reminder that the upcoming Belle Isle City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, April 2 at 5:30 p.m. Here's the agenda:

Belle Isle City Council Meeting Agenda - Tuesday, April 2, 2013

As you can see, the primary focus of this meeting is on presentation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) prepared by Kelly Leary of McDermit Davis. Belle Isle resident Sue Nielsen previously expressed many concerns about this report in her open letter to the Mayor and City Council. Sue's letter was posted to the Sun on March 26, 2013 - here's another copy for your reference:

Sue Nielsen Open Letter - March 26, 2013

The Council will also be voting to adopt Belle Isle Ordinance 13-06, the City's new "special events" ordinance. You can find the complete text of the proposed ordinance starting on page 2 of the above meeting agenda. The purpose of this ordinance is to require a strict permitting process for any public or private "special events" taking place in Belle Isle. "Special events" are defined in the ordinance as events that meet certain qualifications, such as use of amplified sound or large amounts of parking. It appears that many, if not most, private parties in Belle Isle could easily be classified as "special events" under the proposed ordinance.

Under Belle Isle Ordinance 13-06, the permitting process will be primarily managed and controlled by the Belle Isle City Manager and Belle Isle Chief of Police, who will both have significant discretion as to how this ordinance is enforced. For example, the City Manager will have complete discretion as to setting the amount of the cash bond which must be paid by the event host. Similarly, the Police Chief will determine the amount of police protection required for the event as well as the attending costs of those protection services.

Have something to say about the proposed ordinance, the financial report, or anything else? Citizen comments take place at the beginning of the meeting, so come prepared!