Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All About Agendas / Wednesday Workshop Agenda

The Wednesday workshop meeting agenda was finally posted by the City late yesterday afternoon. You can find a copy linked at the end of this article. The numerous topics up for discussion on Wednesday include the follows:

  • Start council meetings later to allow more residents to attend
  • Reformat the agenda to have citizen comments at the beginning
  • Change the location of building permit drop off back to City Hall or change contractor
  • Creating a city council expense report procedure
  • Revamping the tree permitting and process passed in 2007
  • Addition of a bulletin board at the front entrance or middle of the City Hall parking lot
  • Review and discuss the contract clause on the use of dumpsters through Republic

Also up for discussion are proposed guidelines for the Belle Isle Neighborhood Grant program as well as proposed Resolution 14-02, neither of which were provided to the public or Council prior to the posting of this last-minute workshop agenda. You can find copies of the proposed guidelines and resolution attached to the workshop meeting agenda linked below.

These late additions by City Hall again highlight the need for our City to timely post upcoming meeting agendas. The Florida Sunshine Manual states that meeting agendas should be posted at least seven days before a meeting except in emergency situations. In this case, our City Council and the residents of Belle Isle were given just over a day to consider the proposed budget ordinance along with a complex set of grant program requirements proposed at the last minute by City Manager Keith Sevens.

In addition to the numerous topics up for discussion at this workshop meeting, it may be beneficial for our City Council to address the issue of posting agendas in a timely fashion. A new ordinance or resolution requiring that meeting agendas be posted at least seven days in advance would ensure compliance with Florida law and permit our Commissioners and residents alike to be properly prepared for discussion at upcoming meetings.

Residents who have attended City Council meetings over the last few years may be surprised to learn that it is our City Commissioners, not our Mayor or City Manager, who control which issues will be discussed at city meetings. The Belle Isle City Charter describes the roles of our City Council and Mayor in setting the agenda as follows:

"The council shall determine its own rules and the mayor shall set the order of business for each meeting." (City Charter Section 3.08)

 "The Mayor shall set the agenda for council meetings and serve as presiding officer, though the council shall retain the power to add such items to the agenda as it may choose." (City Charter Section 4.05(F))

Put together, these sections clearly demonstrate that while our Mayor gets to control the order in which issues are addressed at a city meeting, our Commissioners retain the power to set meeting rules and add items to meeting agendas. In fact, the City Charter, Section 4.06(B)(5), specifically states that our Mayor has no say in "decisions regarding issues to be placed on or removed from council agenda."

This month's workshop meeting will be held this Wednesday, April 30 at 8:30 a.m. The meeting agenda is linked below. Our next regular City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m., although hopefully that will be the last 5:30 meeting before our Council finally votes to begin regular meetings at a later time!

Workshop Meeting Agenda - April 30, 2014

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