- City Council Meetings
- Regular City Council - January 25, 2022 at 5:30 PM
Regular City Council - January 25, 2022 at 5:30 PM
January 25, 2022
The City of Titusville City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at Titusville City Hall, second floor, Council Chamber, 555 South Washington Avenue, Titusville, Florida 32796. Mayor Diesel called the City Council meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
Those present in the Council Chamber included Mayor Daniel E. Diesel, Vice-Mayor Robert L. Jordan, Jr., City Council Members Jo Lynn Nelson, Joe C. Robinson, and Dr. Sarah Stoeckel. City Manager Scott Larese, City Attorney Richard Broome, and Assistant City Clerk Jolynn Donhoff were also present. Assistant City Clerk Donhoff completed the minutes of the meeting.
Mayor Diesel requested a moment of silence. He then led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. City Clerk Wanda Wells read the procedures for public comment and participation.
SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS & PRESENTATIONS
Employee(s) of the Month - October 2021, November 2021, December 2021, and January 2022 -
No action was requested.
Police Chief John Lau highlighted the nomination that recognized Police Officer Matthew Gonzalez as the City of Titusville's Employee of the Month for October 2021. Police Chief Lau accepted a plaque and gift for Officer Gonzalez, who was unavailable to attend the meeting.
Community Relations Director Jim Thomas highlighted the nomination that recognized Shane Daily, Wil Petty, and Kurtis Korwan of the Community Relations Division as the City of Titusville's Employees of the Month for November 2021. Mayor Diesel presented each employee with a plaque and gift.
Water Resources Director Sean Stauffer highlighted the nomination that recognized Maureen Phillips of the Water Resources Department as the City of Titusville's Employee of the Month for December 2021. Mayor Diesel presented Ms. Phillips with a plaque and gift.
Assistant City Clerk Donhoff highlighted the nomination that recognized Lisa Murtland and Patricia Johansen from the City Clerk’s Office as the City of Titusville's Employees of the Month for January 2022. Mayor Diesel presented each employee with a plaque and gift.
Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) Update – No action was requested. Deputy Public Works Director Sandra Reller gave a presentation and update on the City's Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP). She noted that a related agenda item was also scheduled for the regular City Council meeting on January 25, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
Mayor Diesel, Vice-Mayor Jordan, and Member Nelson discussed their individual questions with Deputy Public Works Director Reller. The questions reviewed information on purpose of baffle boxes, the City presently had nine baffle boxes in place and three more were being designed, the cost was approximately $350,000 per baffle box, future planning or target areas, how the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) evaluated impaired water bodies, the ultimate goal to evaluate the lagoon’s improvement was less algae blooms and more sea grass, the present copy of the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) accounted for goals and plans for the next 15-years, etc.
Bike Lane Improvements - No action was requested. Kimley Horn and Associates Representative Mike Woodward, P.E., gave a presentation and provided information on bike lane improvements on or near Harrison Street, Barna Avenue, and Deleon Avenue.
Mayor Diesel, Vice-Mayor Jordan, and Member Stoeckel discussed their individual questions with Mr. Woodward. The questions reviewed information on balancing transportation mode needs, whether it was wise to eliminate a left-hand turn lane on a particular road with moderate traffic, whether many bicyclists were observed or used certain roads, a gain in one area could mean a loss to another area, weighing the pros and cons on improvements, the purpose of the consultant’s study and professionally accepted standards, the proposed improvements were not presently funded, returning to City Council, using cost-benefit analysis before making decisions, etc.
Solid Waste Tax Roll Billing Update - No action was requested. Deputy Public Works Director Reller gave a presentation and updated Council on the concept for Solid Waste (residential) non-ad valorem assessment tax roll billing adjustments. Deputy Public Works Director Reller recommended the City continue using the current billing system that was in place rather than changing the method of billing.
Member Robinson commented on the importance of reminding or informing the community about these matters. City Manager Larese advised that staff would ensure and continue to provide information to the citizens via various communication outlets, such as presentations, social media, the City’s Talking Points Magazine, etc.
Vice-Mayor Jordan moved to table Item 4 F - Gateway Landscape Project and Entry Signage Concepts to the regular City Council meeting for Special Recognitions and Presentations on February 22, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. Member Nelson seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Presentation on Manatee Protection Measures - No action was requested. FWC Regional Representative Dr. Thomas Reinert provided information on FWC protection measures to improve manatee survival rates. Council discussed their individual questions with Dr. Reinert. The concepts and information that was provided and discussed was summarized, as followed:
- FWC incident command structure and responding to emergencies
- Unusual amount of manatee fatalities largely due to starvation
- Manatee migration patterns
- Loss of sea grass
- Joint collaboration with other agencies to address manatee starvation
- Local power plant provider providing space where warmer water exists for some manatees
- New pilot program to provide lettuce to feed the manatees (never tried before)
- Unintended consequences of feeding wild animals
- The FWC updated its website once a week for the public to get the latest information
- Not knowing why sea grass was not yet coming back, even though there was an indication the health of the Indian River Lagoon was improving. There were lots of hypothesis
- Other geographical areas of Florida having the same concerns on manatees
- Florida manatee population estimates ranging from 7,500 to 8,000. Half of these were on Florida’s east coast
- Mortality charts, maturity standards, population dynamics, sources or threats to manatee health like red tide, cold snaps, etc.
- An interdisciplinary professional panel of professionals reviewing the current concerns about manatees
- Quality control of investigations, data, deaths, an average 1,100 pound manatee required eating 10% of food for their body weight per day
- Simulating sounds underwater to attract manatees to food
- Manatee behavior – the animals do not eat where they sleep
- The importance of limiting interaction with humans
- Animals were competitive
- Predictions for feeding next winter
- Instead of lettuce, using another plant hydrilla to rehabilitate or feed the manatees that may or reportedly cannot be used per veterinarian consultants or the issue was these plant cuttings cropped up and grew in other areas or became an issue
Additionally, it was noted that monetary donations to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Wildlife Foundation was the best way for the public to assist manatees. The indication was that the FWC offices were not prepared to manage donations and boxes of lettuces brought to their offices by citizens.
Gateway Landscape Project and Entry Signage Concepts – Council tabled this agenda item earlier in the meeting to the regular City Council meeting for Special Recognitions and Presentations on February 22, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.
Letters of Appreciation - City Manager Larese highlighted a list of employees that recently received letters of appreciation, as followed:
Fire and Emergency Services –
Kyle George, Firefighter/EMT
Dana Hersey, Firefighter/Paramedic
Information Technology –
Jordan Harris, Information Technician II
Justin Kenney, Lead Network Analyst
Minami Ventura, System Analyst II
Community Development – Eddy Galindo, Senior Planner
Water Resources – Matt Hixson, Water Reclamation Superintendent
PETITIONS AND REQUESTS FROM THE PUBLIC PRESENT
Kay St. Onge read from a prepared statement that reviewed her concerns and recommendations. She discussed the difficulty of restoring sea grass in the Indian River Lagoon and that pollution had caused the loss of sea grass and subsequently the death of manatees, due to the loss of this food source. Ms. St. Onge requested regularly testing stormwater for harmful nutrients, both in newer and older developments. She also advised there were engineering improvements that could be used along street curbing to redirect stormwater into a curb inlet and a nutrient filter basket---a product produced by a company or companies that desired assisting cities with these matters, etc.
Stan Johnston requested the public be allowed to speak on under each presentation agenda item. He also liked the information discussed thus far. Additionally, Mr. Johnston commented on attending prior City Council meetings and his concerns for a prior sewer spill and pollution affecting the lagoon and elsewhere. He wanted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to be aware of these matters.
Kathleen Perez supported Ms. St. Onge’s comments. She advised that experts indicate the water quality of the lagoon was improving, but sea grass was not coming back because the big picture was not being understood. Second, Ms. Perez advised that research indicated that hydrilla was more nutritious than the water hyacinth (plants) for feeding manatees. She also expressed concern on poisons or pesticides being retained by manatees from the plants or food they ate.
Katrina Shadix, with help from others at the meeting, held up large pictures of dead manatees. She thanked the FWC for their presentation. Ms. Shadix felt manatee deaths were the result of many prior comprehensive decisions and actions in Florida. She further read from a prepared statement that expressed her concerns on former and current environmental conditions and she advised that she had filed a lawsuit against the State or another agency on these matters. She further requested the City Council to contact Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and request issuing moratoriums on spraying pesticides and septic tanks.
Mayor Diesel advised the City was already being proactive on information that Ms. Shadix mentioned or her comments related to septic tanks.
Dr. Wanda Jones, a marine mammal biologist, desired addressing some of the information that the public was receiving about manatees. She advised that lettuce was not a normal food for manatees and it was less nutritious. Instead, other plants were more beneficial. Lettuce did not have the fiber that manatees needed and fiber was important to a manatee’s digestive tract. Evidence to support her statements included the manatees found at Crystal River, Florida. These manatees ate water hyacinth and hydrilla. Manatees also did not normally recognize lettuce as a food, but only learned if they watched another manatee eat the lettuce. Additionally, Dr. Jones reviewed more information on nutrition.
Mayor Diesel and Dr. Jones discussed communication between all professional disciplinary stakeholders.
Dr. Jeff Greenberg, an environmental scientist and having other expertise, reviewed his professional background, projects, and various involvements. He commented on the complexity of stormwater management and systems. For example, Dr. Greenberg advised there was ecological significance to (a particular) drainage ditch and he was concerned for losing any ecological significance with ditch maintenance (he requested no big lawn mowers). The wildlife in the ditch was amazing. To this, Dr. Greenberg offered consulting as a scientist.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 7:19 p.m.