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The City of Titusville, Florida / News

COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS FEBRUARY 6, 2010

CITY OF TITUSVILLE
COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS

FEBRUARY 6, 2010

Facilitated by:
Marilyn E. Crotty
Florida Institute of Government
at the University of Central Florida 



INTRODUCTION

The City of Titusville has a long history of engaging and informing its citizens. As part of its

ongoing strategic planning, the city invited the community to participate in a half-day workshop

to gather input regarding priorities the city should address; strategies for implementation of the

priorities; and budgetary impacts to consider. Almost 60 people participated in the February 6,

2010 workshop entitled Community Conversations. The Mayor and City Council as well as

senior staff were also in attendance. Ms. Marilyn Crotty from the Florida Institute of

Government at the University of Central Florida facilitated the workshop.

After listening to opening remarks by the Mayor and Council Members and a brief presentation

by staff, the participants were divided into small groups and asked to respond to a series of

questions. The elected officials and staff circulated among the groups during the morning to gain

a sense of the issues that were being discussed. After hearing reports from each group on the key

points of discussion, Ms. Crotty led a general discussion on the creation of a new advisory

committee for the city. The Mayor and City Council responded to the comments of the attendees

and thanked them for participating.

While a clear consensus on the direction the city should take emerged during the workshop, the

diverse group of participants generated many ideas that should be considered by Titusville as it

plans for the future. This report is a compilation of the small group discussions.
 
 
GROUP DISCUSSIONS
The first question posed to each group was:

1. Identify the three top priorities the City of Titusville should focus on during the next fiscal

year.

There was a great deal of consensus focusing on the need for economic development, tourism,

and improving the appearance of the community. The listing below shows the rankings from

each group with the asterisked items identified as priorities.
* Economic diversification

Job creation

Business friendly

Fix permitting!

Tax structure improvement

* Improve attractiveness

* Promote tourism

Space heritage/history

Waterfront entertainment

More marketing

Innovation (foster, encourage)

Lose federal dependency

Public transportation

Family oriented activities

--------------------------------------------

* Job development

Recruitment

* Fill empty houses

Attract retirees

* Eco/local tourism

--------------------------------------------

*Economic Development

*Maintain Core Services

Identify what the core services are

Plan for loss of income

Keep current tax rates and/or fee rates

Look at potential partnerships with private sector

*Curb Appeal

CRA’s need progress

Maintain building codes

Plan for foreclosures

Citywide building design theme

Proactive code enforcement (residential and commercial)

-------------------------------------------------

*Job creation and supporting local business

*Public safety

Safe and secure neighborhoods and homes- special concern- domestic conflict

*Improve community appearance and get rid of tired, unkempt look- vacant and abandoned

properties

-------------------------------------------------

*Economic Growth

Business friendly

Tourism friendly

Streamline permitting process (city)- not dumbed down

*Eco- tourism

*Revitalize Titusville

-------------------------------------------------

*Build economy/business in Titusville- business friendly environment

*Utilize existing housing and housing opportunities attracting people from Orlando

*Tourism development

-------------------------------------------------

*Image and identity- promote who is our market target

*Incentives for infill development

Restrict expansion of existing services, utilize existing structures, make demolition easier

Reduce inventory of derelict structures

Limit new construction

*Don’t raise taxes

Maximizing grant possibilities

Job creation

Retain current level of services at a minimum
After identifying priorities, the small groups discussed strategies for implementation .

2. Develop strategies for implementing these priorities including realistic time frames,

responsible partners, and anticipated outcomes.
 
 
Economic Development/Job Creation/Diversification Strategies
Focus on retention

Business ombudsman

30 day permit guarantee

Effective sales/promotion of city

Incentive for redevelopment of existing buildings

Incentivize infill development

Restrict expansion of existing services

Utilize existing structures

Make demolition easier

Reduce inventory of derelict structures

Limit new residential development

Commercial space recruitment

Sustainable jobs/living wages

Involve faith-based community

Lose federal dependency

Military business

Encourage innovation

More hands on elected officials

Remove impediments to starting a business here

Research/education/business incubation

Local business preference in bid/contract awards

Streamline permitting

Find/ attract high tech manufacturing

Incentives

Tax breaks

Access to existing structures

Local hires

Attract brick and mortar businesses

Promote eco-tourism

Assistance with permit fees/insurance

Examine financial incentives

Attracting commercial launch ventures

Promote skilled workforce

Location, location, location

Alternative energy businesses

Home based business support

Waive permit fees – 3 years

Defined benefit

Identify diversity (but don’t give up on space)

Ecotourism, tourism

Property preservation or demo

Banks

Educate/inform opportunity

Pursue federal grants

Bring community service organizations together to market Titusville

Business friendly- to existing and new

Community communicating

Promote, protect and preserve

Target incentives for local economy contractors, bids staying local, city purchasing materials

Staffing paid by user fees, outsourcing/reducing staff/city belt tightening, pay city

manager based upon reduction/ % of taxes- budget

Space related businesses using experienced persons from layoffs

Target larger industrial/commercial manufacturing companies to area

Bring in better restaurants

Eco industry

Economical development vs. revenue/jobs created

Economic development community to reach out to other cities

SCDC reaching out more

Paid by performance, not paid by business taxes but paid by membership
 
 
Curb Appeal/Improve Attractiveness Strategies
Titusville Beach (align more with beach)

Volunteer clean ups

Public transportation

Revitalize adopt-a-road

Improve linkage with neighboring counties

Remove obstructive vegetation from riverview

Wider sidewalks, bike paths

Golf cart friendly city

Seek input from seniors

Encourage share-a-ride (cars, bikes)

Take care of blighted properties (ie. Miracle City Mall)

Study and understand subject properties

Consider historical value in determining direction, then choose to restore or rebuild

Curb appeal of public property

Increase attractiveness/volunteerism

City appearance- landscaping, painting buildings
 
 
Promote tourism/eco-tourism strategies
Easier transportation for tourists

Space tourism

Increase eco-tourism

Facilitate discussions on creating downtown tourism/entertainment district

More marketing

Have DOT post signs advertising Titusville Beach

Promote reds fishing

More Audubon Events (birding)

Titusville Beach

Protect natural resources

Promote, protect and preserve

Use SEDC, EDC, and TDC to promote

Clean up Indian River along US 1

Grand entrance to Titusville statement from interstate

Reconsider vacation rentals

People’s attitude towards tourism needs to change to reflect positive, welcoming essence

Bringing community together

Community involvement functions

Ages/income together

Personal responsibility

Promote image and identity by marketing to employers, permanent residents, and tourists
 
 
Other Strategies for implementing priorities
Attract retirees

Preserve natural history

Cap taxes

Stabilize home insurance

Attract Orlando residents

Place ad (bio) in retirement/senior periodicals

Refuse fired electric/utility plant

Green/eco manufacturing

Target $ from permits, illegal building

Vacant buildings- bring in entertainment facilities, multiplex

Reduce city staffing, ie. Layoffs

Vacant buildings

Tax credit use as training facility for police/fire- take down/refurbish

Housing and jobs to stay in area, less travel outside city

Housing low income/distressed properties to maintain appearance

City to purchase housing to provide- federal $

Outsource/contract services of city except fire/health/safety

Local incentive to keep business/income here/any purchasing

Bonds

Promote Titusville

Send mayor to Orlando Health Services Community to promote Titusville

Market to employers, permanent residents, and tourists by professional marketing

company funded through grants

Encourage chamber to run private financed campaigns

Actively seek models of other cities that have succeeded in promotion
Each group then shared ideas on what effect the above strategies might have on the city’s budget

and how to address these impacts.

3. Discuss the impacts of these activities on the city’s budget.
4 day 9 hour workweek

Delay non-essential capital improvements

Cross-training of city personnel

Look at “sacred cows”- provide services that actually reflect demand

Better enforcement of laws/codes (fine structure)

Increase transparency of expenditures- more citizen involvement

Business development increases municipal revenues in the long run

Budget must reflect goals

Encourage growth

Extend impact fee moratorium

Larger investment in marketing

Remove duplication of services between city/county

Transition away from defined benefit plans

Flow down mandates- push back through representatives

Suspend home-based business fees- $211- ($125 city) for 3 years

Independent organization to analyze budget opportunities

Don’t raise taxes- maintain current level of services by maximizing grant possibilities and

alternative funding

Maximize grant writing

Impacts to budget - our strategies are basically budget neutral

Encourage and assist volunteer groups and civic organizations to clean up, fix, and promote

Revenue- new

Annex the space center and wildlife refuge

Take over any abandoned government land

Sell city maps and promotional items at large events

Sell Titusville license plates

Tax billboards

Survey other cities for service fees that may be appropriate

Install solar panels on public buildings and sell overage to power companies

Expense cutting

Eliminate consultant fees when you can go to resource city for same information

Have economic development department come to every council meeting for status report

with other agencies and progress

Examine fixed assets- 2 vacuum tracks

Use prison helpers for cleanup efforts

City budget tightening

Help soften blow to out of work

Focus on core services

Tax incentives, reduced fees, time for businesses creating jobs

More grants
 
 
Part II Small group discussions continued
1. What specific efforts should be made to improve the economic health of the City of Titusville?

What role should the city play in these efforts? What other organizations should be involved?
 
 
Efforts to Improve Economic Health
Listen to business leaders to make improvements

Involve more citizens in the process- provide greater transparency so citizens can easily be

informed

Create innovation incentive

City should be a conduit for collaboration and community development

Create a volunteer program

Create a community council to encourage dialogue across economic and social sectors

Greater empowerment of city staff at all levels

More proactive actions by city

Be aggressive

Public-private collaboration

Shop Titusville

Promote local businesses

Titusville website

Redevelop Miracle City Mall - incentivize

Promote commercial launching in Brevard

Solicit federal elected officials for Brevard County

R&D launching in Brevard

Spend/ more efficiency in all departments

Permitting, job tasks, better attitudes, evaluation forms from customers

Community organizations, civic groups, churches, faith based

Maintain tax incentives for new and expanding businesses

Streamline permitting- one stop shop

Making city more attractive

Curb appeal

Unified building plan

Fill up the buildings

Identifiable city center- character

Economic diversity
 
 
Other Organizations to Involve
SEDC

Brevard County EDC

Chamber of Commerce

KSC/exploration park

SLSL

City has to be aggressive

State of FL

Citizens

Federal government

Universities and UCF

High tech corridor

Maintain residence base

Get input from existing businesses

All civic organization and citizens should be involved
2. How can the city of Titusville be of greater assistance to the business community?
Business Friendly

Streamline the process

Business ombudsman/single POC

Process should match goal

More customer friendly/customer service

Don’t get so focused on the trees that you forget to see the forest

30 day permit guarantee (only exception would be life safety issues)

City council should pick their battles

Responsible attitude, incentive for local vendors/contractors to stay here

Helping/assisting attitude, educate and inform more readily

Communication between departments and inner government

Survey businesses as to needs
The final small group discussion topic of the day was to identify things the participants would

like to change about Titusville.

3. If there was one thing you could change about the city, what would it be?
Look at each shuttle end as an opportunity and not a tragedy

Aggressive economic development

Better vision and follow through

Reconsider leadership structure and empowerment of leaders

Don’t be afraid to make decision because someone might disagree- use common sense

Let everyone do their own job- expertise without interference, don’t micromanage

Allowing the minority to lead or decide the future for the majority

Should be a full community effort- one community.

Pride of community, ownership

Appearance

Resources (buy Titusville, gas)

Curb appeal

Review ordinances as they pertain to business

Improve image

More quality of life services
The final activity of the workshop was a group discussion about the potential for creating a new

advisory committee. The following comments, issues, and concerns were raised regarding this:
 
 
Citizen Advisory Committee
General support

Question the need - what would it do? How much money would it cost?

Could existing boards and committees fill this role?

There may be a need for more than one citizen advisory committee in the short term that could

review the information generated from this workshop and make specific recommendations to

council within a specific timeframe

Make it an economic development committee with a 60 day timeframe

Council needs to take action now- no more meeting/talking

Use existing community organizations

Need central communication channel for groups to work together

Challenge to council: Reasons a business should locate in Titusville

Use citizens for “new” ideas, sunset group quickly
Ms. Crotty advised the participants that all of the information generated at the workshop would

be compiled into a report which will be available from the city. This information will be used by

the elected officials and staff when they meet on February 27, 2010 for the annual strategic

plan/goal setting update.




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