Regular City Council - December 12, 2023 at 6:30 PM

  1. Agenda

City Council

Regular Meeting

December 12, 2023

 

The City Council of the City of Titusville, Florida met in regular session in the Council Chamber of City Hall, 555 South Washington Avenue, on Tuesday, December 12, 2023. Mayor Diesel called the City Council meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. Present were Mayor Daniel E. Diesel, Vice-Mayor Joe C. Robinson, and City Council Members Herman A. Cole, Jr., Col USAF Retired, Jo Lynn Nelson, and Dr. Sarah Stoeckel. Also present were City Manager Scott Larese, City Attorney Richard Broome, and City Clerk Wanda Wells. Assistant City Clerk Jolynn 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 Wells read the procedures for public comment and participation. 

 

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MINUTES 

 

Motion:

Member Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the regular City Council meetings on October 10, 2023 and November 28, 2023 (5:30 p.m.), as submitted. Member Cole seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. 

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Council made two modifications to the meeting’s agenda and business items.     

 

Motion:

Member Stoeckel moved to table Agenda Item 9 A – the public hearing for Ordinance No. 50-2023 - Wireless in the Public Right of Way to the regular City Council meeting on January 9, 2024. Member Nelson seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. 

 

Motion:

Member Stoeckel moved to relocate or move Agenda Item 16 A - Update to City Council on the status of the litigation involving Speak Up Titusville, Inc. and to seek Council's direction on the filing of an appeal in this case, as the first item to be heard under New Business.  Member Nelson seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. 

 

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SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS & PRESENTATIONS 

 

Proclamation - National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day - No action was requested. City Manager Larese introduced the agenda item and read the proclamation. Ms. Misty Belford, a representative from the Brevard Homeless Coalition (BHC), provided information on upcoming memorial services on December 21, 2023 to honor all homeless that had died while living in homelessness. Details on the services were distributed to the City Clerk. Ms. Belford highlighted additional information on homelessness, including statistics, living costs, challenges for securing affordable shelter, prevention, housing projects with community partners, use of funding by the Brevard Homeless Coalition (BHC), challenges related to transportation of homeless students, studying demographics, etc. 

 

Mayor Diesel presented the proclamation to the Brevard Homeless Coalition (BHC) representative, which proclaimed December 21, 2023 as National Homeless Persons' Memorial. 

 

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Titusville/Farmton (TIFA), LLC FY 2024 Budget and FY 2025 Pro Forma Projections - No action was requested. Public Works Director Kevin Cook presented the Titusville/Farmton (TIFA), LLC, Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget and the FY 2025 Pro Forma Projections. 

 

Vice-Mayor Robinson and staff discussed his questions on how the information presented in the presentation affected the City’s future water supply. 

 

Member Stoeckel and staff discussed her questions on exclusive rights and guaranteed amounts of water for future planning purposes, etc. 

 

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BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

 

North Brevard County Hospital District Board – City Manager Larese highlighted the request provided in the Council agenda packet. The request was to reappoint one (1) regular member to the North Brevard County Hospital District Board for a four-year term to expire on December 31, 2027. The request also included confirming one member appointed by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners to the North Brevard County Hospital District board for a term to expire on December 31, 2027.

 

The term of City appointee and Regular Member Herman Cole, Jr. would expire on December 31, 2023. Mr. Cole had expressed his desire to continue serving on this Board. 

 

There were no other applications on file for consideration. 

 

In addition, Mr. Dan Aton was appointed by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners on November 14, 2023 for a four-year term to expire on December 31, 2027. This appointment was subject to confirmation by the City Council.

 

Stan Johnston submitted a public speaking card. He commented on attending the last North Brevard County Hospital District Board meeting, speaking with board representatives, his efforts to communicate with various agencies regarding his concerns on a prior sewer spill, hospital administration salaries, etc. 

 

Motion:

Member Nelson moved to reappoint Herman Cole, Jr. as a regular member of the North Brevard County Hospital District Board for a four-year term to expire on December 31, 2027. Member Stoeckel seconded the motion. 

 

Member Cole indicated that he was not required to abstain from voting on this motion (presently on the floor), due to he had no financial conflict of interest. The roll call vote was:

 

Member Cole                          Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

         Member Stoeckel                    Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

Motion:

Member Nelson moved to confirm Dan Aton as a regular member of the North Brevard County Hospital District Board, as appointed by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners for a four-year term to expire on December 31, 2027. Member Cole seconded the motion and the roll call vote was: 

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

          Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Cole                          Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

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North Brevard Economic Development Zone Dependent Special District Board - City Manager Larese highlighted the request provided in the Council agenda packet. The request was to reappoint two regular members to the North Brevard Economic Development Zone Dependent Special District Board for four-year terms to expire on December 31, 2027. Bartholomew Gaetjens and Donn Mount had expressed their desire to serve on this board as City Council appointees and for terms that would expire on December 31, 2027.

 

Stan Johnston submitted a public speaking card. He commented in his desire to pursue issues related to sewage. 

 

Motion:

Member Nelson moved to reappoint Bartholomew Gaetjens and Donn Mount as regular members of the North Brevard Economic Development Zone Dependent Special District Board and for four-year terms to expire on December 31, 2027. Member Cole seconded the motion and the roll call vote was: 

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

          Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Cole                          Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

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PETITIONS AND REQUESTS FROM THE PUBLIC PRESENT (NON-AGENDA ITEMS) – 

 

Kathleen O’Rourke indicated that she sent an email to the Council prior to the meeting. She was concerned about the recently adopted local ordinance related to implementing the State’s Live Local Act. She read from a prepared statement that petitioned the Council to refine the ordinance, include adequate community coordination and input, have Live Local Act projects go through the process of being considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the City Council, etc. 

 

Brief Council discussion ensued on the State’s Live Local Act, the requirement to follow the law, monitoring the results of litigation around the State, etc. 

 

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Malinda Villain thanked the City for installing signage indicating No Commercial Vehicles on a side street (alley way) near her home. She, however, expressed concern of freight or commercial vehicles (delivery vehicles) pulling-up in front of her and her neighbor’s home on a local street (Acorn Drive) in a residential neighborhood to make deliveries to a commercial business. Ms. Villain commented on her recent conversations with police, studying the City’s business tax receipt application, how or why freight trucks were allowed to come near residences, etc. 

 

Community Development Director Brad Parrish and Public Works Director Kevin Cook advised that there were no Codes within the City that prevented her concern. Mayor Diesel advised he would like to have a better understanding of what could be done and what could not be done regarding Ms. Villain’s concern.

 

Ms. Villain distributed information to the City Clerk upon concluding the discussion on her concerns.  

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Greg Valdyke, a resident on Acorn Drive, advised that a tractor trailer and another type of commercial delivery vehicle entered his neighborhood earlier in the day. He also shared Ms. Villain’s concerns. 

 

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Woody Rice read from a prepared statement that discussed affordable housing and why there were few developers that offered this product. From his personal research, affordable housing projects seemed to be grouped or located together, which was not desirable for families and parents wanting better for their children. For this reason, he felt a distribution method needed to be implemented on where affordable housing was built. He advised this concept was also discussed in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. 

 

Mr. Rice was provided an additional two minutes to speak. He continued reading from the prepared statement that discussed methodologies to distribute affordable housing throughout the City and improving the welfare of citizens. 

 

Vice-Mayor Robinson recommended that Mr. Rice also read a book called The Color of Law

 

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Connie Milton requested Council use one of their governing rules or “Rule 13” (Code of Ordinances, Chapter 2, Section 2-26) to revote on the recently adopted City ordinance and resolution that served to implement the State’s Live Local Act, for reasons she explained. She felt these articles had “no good teeth”. Ms. Milton further commented on her desire to receive a legal interpretation on an Item 7 D (from a piece of the legislation), using provisions in the City’s Comprehensive Plan to legally argue and win objectives in which she and others desired, the importance of community feedback, etc. 

 

Member Stoeckel commented on the State Live Local Act, ongoing conversations in and around the State, she could not support a Rule 13 at this time, issues by not providing staff local implementation guidelines, etc. 

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Stan Johnston distributed information. He advised that he was right with his concerns or view points on a prior sewer spill.  

 

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CONSENT AGENDA

 

City Manager Larese read Consent Agenda Items A through G, as followed: 

 

  1. Amendment to 401(a) and 457(b) Retirement Plans - Approve the updated adoption agreements, 401(a) Adoption Agreement for the money purchase plan that excludes part-time employees as of January 1, 2024 and 457(b) Adoption Agreement that excludes part-time employees.

 

  1. Ross Model: 14" Surge Relief / Back Pressure Sustaining Control Valve - Approve the purchase of a Ross Model: 14", 50RWR in the amount of $26,930 from Environment Equipment Services, which is the sole source Ross Valve MFG. Co. Inc. agent for equipment in Florida.

 

  1. Appropriate Forfeiture Funds for Single Source purchase of Clearview AI Search Pro - Appropriate $5,495 in forfeiture funds to purchase Clearview AI Search Pro (Single Source vendor), approve the associated budget amendment, and authorize the Mayor to execute the Clearview Search Pro agreement and purchasing agreement upon review and approval of City Staff.

 

  1. Economic Development Strategic Plan Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with East Central Florida Regional Planning Council (ECFRPC) - Authorize the Mayor to execute the Agreement with the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council to complete the scope of work to update the Economic Development Strategic Plan. The authorized contract amount shall not to exceed $75,000.

 

  1. Titusville/Farmton (TIFA), LLC FY 2024 Budget and FY 2025 Pro Forma Projections -  Approve the TIFA, LLC FY 2024 Budget and authorize the Mayor to execute the Consent of Members.

 

  1. Task Order KHWO002 for Review of Area of Critical Concern and Hazardous Waste Manual - Approve the award of Task Order # KHWO002 to Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. in the amount of $79,700 to provide engineering consulting services including, but not limited to, review the existing area of critical concern code and overlay district and the hazardous materials technical manual, including review of hydrological changes, ground water modeling expertise, regulatory review, and final recommendations for the City to consider for implementing, and authorize the Mayor to execute the Task Order.

 

  1. Award of Contract - Garden Street Pedestrian Bridge Maintenance - Approve the award of contract to Razorback, LLC of Tarpon Springs, FL in the amount of $69,431. Additionally, approve associated budget amendment and authorize the Mayor to execute the contract.

 

Stan Johnston submitted public speaking cards on Consent Agenda Items B, C, D, F, and G. He was opposed to each of these agenda items for reasons he explained.

 

Motion

Member Nelson moved to approve Consent Agenda Items A through G, in accordance with the recommendations. Member Cole seconded the motion and the roll call vote was:

 

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

         Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Cole                          Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

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ORDINANCES – SECOND READING, PUBLIC HEARING AND RELATED ACTION

 

Ordinance No. 50-2023 - Wireless in the Public Right of Way - Council tabled the public hearing for Ordinance No. 50-2023 to the regular City Council meeting on January 9, 2024. This task was completed earlier in the meeting. 

 

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Ordinance No. 56-2023 - Amending Service Fees for Dishonored Checks – City Attorney Broome read Ordinance No. 56-2023 - AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES BY AMENDING SECTION 2-161 “SERVICE FEE FOR DISHONORED CHECKS” TO AMEND THE SERVICE FEE; PROVIDING FOR INCORPORATION INTO THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR REPEAL OF CONFLICTING ORDINANCES; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE, for the second time by title only. 

 

City Manager Larese highlighted the request provided in the Council agenda packet. The request was to conduct the second reading and public hearing of Ordinance No. 56-2023. 

 

Mayor Diesel opened the public hearing.

 

Stan Johnston waived his right to speak. 

 

As there were no additional persons that wished to speak, the public hearing was closed. 

 

Motion

Member Nelson moved to approve Ordinance No. 56-2023, as recommended. Member Cole seconded the motion and the roll call vote was:

 

          Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Cole                          Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

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Ordinance No. 57-2023 - Annual update of the 5-Year Capital Improvements Schedule (2024-2028) relating to the Capital Improvement Element of the Comprehensive Plan City Attorney Broome read Ordinance No. 57-2023 - AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, UPDATING THE FIVE-YEAR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS SCHEDULE OF THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF THE CITY OF TITUSVILLE FOR THE 2024 – 2028 HORIZON RELATING TO THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT ELEMENT; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE, for the second time by title only. 

 

City Manager Larese highlighted the request provided in the Council agenda packet. The request was to conduct the second reading and public hearing of Ordinance No. 57-2023. 

 

On December 6, 2023, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), acting as the Local Planning Agency, recommended approval, 5-2. The motion was approved with the recognition that in year 2 of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the City should search additional funding resource opportunities, including grants, if the population exceeded 50,000. It was noted that P&Z Members Richardson and Rogers voted no because the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) population estimates were low and inaccurate.

 

City Sustainability Planner Abigail Trout gave a brief presentation on the Capital Improvements Element (CIE) and 5-Year Schedule of Capital Improvements for 2024 – 2028. The presentation provided an overview on Florida Statutes 163.3177(b), public facilities, concurrency establishing acceptable capacities at which public facilities were provided, funding estimates and sources, long term planning strategies, recommended actions, etc. 

 

Member Stoeckel and staff discussed her questions on the process for estimating future population estimates, an estimate(s) for a decrease in water consumption, which was based on the City’s water service area was larger than the City’s boundaries and this was recommended by the St. Johns River Water Management District, etc.  

 

Mayor Diesel opened the public hearing.

 

Stan Johnston doubted the truthfulness of the City’s resiliency plans. He desired funding be spent on capital improvements to address flooding. 

 

Connie Milton advised there was always a continuous back log of capital improvement projects that needed to be completed. Agencies needed to be proactive in obtaining funding and planning for more than five years at one time. She recommended collaborating with private, nearby, space related industries on future population needs. Ms. Milton felt there was not enough water for future population needs.   

 

As there were no additional persons that wished to speak, the public hearing was closed. 

 

Motion

Member Nelson moved to approve Ordinance No. 57-2023, as recommended.

 

Member Nelson also desired potentially planning or looking further into the future (indicating planning for more than five years into the future). 

 

Member Stoeckel seconded the motion and the roll call vote was:

                                    

Member Cole                          Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

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City Attorney Broome read and discussed the Quasi-judicial rules of procedure with the City Council for the next item on the Council agenda, which was Small Scale Amendment Application No. 9-2023 and the related ordinances. 

 

Comprehensive Plan Small Scale Map Amendment (SSA) Application No. 9-2023 –   Windover Way and State Road (S.R.) 405 - McLaughlin-Wright - City Attorney Broome read the following ordinances for the second time by title only, as followed:

 

Ordinance No. 58-2023 - AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES BY AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 60-1988, WHICH ADOPTED THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF THE CITY OF TITUSVILLE, BY AMENDING THE FUTURE LAND USE MAP, BY CHANGING THE LAND USE DESIGNATIONS ON APPROXIMATELY .449+/- ACRES OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT THE SOUTHWEST QUADRANT OF THE INTERSECTION OF WINDOVER WAY AND SR 405, HAVING BREVARD COUNTY PARCEL ID NO. 22-35-32-00-12; FROM THE COMMERCIAL LOW INTENSITY FUTURE LAND USE DESIGNATION TO THE CONSERVATION FUTURE LAND USE DESIGNATION; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; REPEAL OF CONFLICTING ORDINANCES; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE. This was a legislative item.

 

Ordinance No. 59-2023 - AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA, AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 5-1993 OF THE CITY OF TITUSVILLE, BY AMENDING THE ZONING MAP MADE A PART OF SAID ORDINANCES BY REFERENCE BY CHANGING THE COMMUNITY  COMMERCIAL (CC) ZONING DISTRICT TO THE OPEN SPACE & RECREATION (OR) ZONING DISTRICT ON APPROXIMATELY .449+/- ACRES OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT THE SOUTHWEST QUADRANT OF THE INTERSECTION OF WINDOVER WAY AND SR 405, HAVING BREVARD COUNTY PARCEL ID NO. 22-35-32-00-12; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; REPEAL OF CONFLICTING ORDINANCES; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

 

City Manager Larese highlighted the request provided in the Council agenda packet. The request was to conduct the second reading and public hearing for ordinances for Comprehensive Plan Small Scale Amendment (SSA) Application No. 9-2023 with proposed rezoning. He also advised the Planning and Zoning Commissions, acting as the Local Planning Agency, had recommended approval, 7-0.

 

Community Development Director Brad Parrish highlighted the staff’s findings and recommendations, as provided in the staff report in the Council agenda packet. 

 

Mayor Diesel opened the public hearing. 

 

The applicant was present, but elected not to speak on behalf of their application and requests.  

 

Connie Milton supported the proposed requests and ordinances, for reasons she explained.  She advised that she represented 890 residents in Windover Farms. She held up a petition that she advised was distributed to Council last year. There was a survey and much to understand she said.  There was a “win-win” solution, which she highlighted and as she held up and discussed various documents. 

 

Stan Johnston was neutral on the proposed requests and ordinances, for reasons he explained. He commented on a stormwater master plan that affected a larger geographical area that extended beyond the City’s boundaries. 

 

The applicant did not wish to rebut any of the comments made during the public hearing. As there were no additional persons that wished to speak, the public hearing was closed. 

 

Motion

Member Nelson moved to approve Comprehensive Plan Small Scale Map Amendment (SSA) No. 9-2023 and related Ordinance No. 58-2023, as recommended. Member Cole seconded the motion and the roll call vote was:

                                    

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Cole                          Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

Motion

Member Nelson moved to approve Ordinance No. 59-2023, as recommended. Member Cole seconded the motion and the roll call vote was:

                                    

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Cole                          Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

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At 8:18 p.m., Mayor Diesel called for a short break. The meeting resumed at 8:25 p.m.

 

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ORDINANCES-FIRST READING – None. 

 

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OLD BUSINESS – None. 

 

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NEW BUSINESS

 

Item 16 A - Update to City Council on the status of the litigation involving Speak Up Titusville, Inc. and to seek Council's direction on the filing of an appeal in this case – City Attorney Broome highlighted information provided in the Council agenda packet. At this meeting, he desired Council to provide direction on whether to file a Notice of Appeal as recommended by the City's Counsel of record in this matter, who was Leonard Collins of the GrayRobinson, P.A. law firm.

 

City Attorney Broome provided background information and an update on the litigation involving Speak Up Titusville, Inc. He advised the Court had entered an order dated May 22, 2023 granting summary judgment in favor of Speak Up Titusville. On September 18, 2023, the Court issued its order granting a rehearing for November 16, 2023. On November 16, 2023, the Court reheard the parties' Motions for Summary Judgment in the case. The Court entered an Order Granting Final Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendant on November 27, 2023, a copy of which was provided in the Council agenda packet. 

 

If the City Council desired to appeal the Court's Order, a Notice of Appeal must be filed with the Fifth District Court of Appeals no later than thirty (30) days from the date that the Order was entered or the date that the Motion for Rehearing was denied. The City Attorney's Office and litigation Counsel, Leonard Collins of the GrayRobinson, P.A. law firm, were seeking the Council’s direction as to the filing of an appeal in this matter.  

 

In addition, City Attorney Broome advised that Attorney Collins had agreed to limit his fees to an amount not to exceed thirty thousand dollars for the appeal in this matter. Funding was currently available through the City Attorney's budget for outside counsel.

 

Leonard Collins of the of the GrayRobinson, P.A. law firm joined the meeting via video participation. 

 

City Attorney Broome commented on additional information related to the litigation involving Speak Up Titusville, Inc. and a comparison to the language or content of a charter amendment involving Speak Up Wekiva and Orange County, in which the charter language was legally determined to be pre-empted by Florida Statutes 403.4129(a) and which was read aloud. 

 

City Attorney Broome continued at length in his update the City Council. He advised there were some individuals that argued the charter amendment language in the Speak Up Titusville charter amendment was different than the Speak Up Wekiva and Orange County legal matter, which he highlighted in more detail. City Attorney Broome advised that ultimately, the City Attorney and/or City of Titusville must be able to defend language in the City’s Charter, in the event that it was legally challenged and for any language found to be not pre-empted by the Florida Statutes, Constitution, etc.  

 

An upcoming meeting or hearing on the Speak Up Wekiva and Orange County case was indicated as being scheduled for January 2024. 

 

Leonard Collins of the of the GrayRobinson, P.A. law firm commented on information related to the legal ramifications or possible outcomes of filing or not filing a Notice of Appeal, options to the City Council, etc. Attorney Collins also reviewed the background and history on these matters, the vague legal rationale in the prior court decisions on the Speak Up Titusville, Inc. case, a comparison to the Speak Up Wekiva case, legal oversight and jurisdiction, the State Law seemed to be clear, the City Council’s rights at the present time pertaining to their decision making, Attorney Collins’ recommendation to file a Notice of Appeal and why, the timeline for receiving a decision if and after a Notice of Appeal was filed, the scenario if a Notice of Appeal was not filed, etc. 

 

Member Nelson and Attorney Collins discussed the following:

 

  • The pervasiveness, meaning, or weight of the particular Florida Statutes being discussed
  • Two district court of appeals (DCAs) in two different legal jurisdictions having different rules and instances of when the Florida Supreme Court may consider appeals
  • The Florida Legislature had changed the Florida Statutes on these matters before the lawsuit for the Speak up Wekiva Charter Amendment was filed with the court
  • Clarifying the purpose of the Speak Up Titusville, Inc. Charter amendment measure, which indicated gave citizens the rights to bring suit against the City
  • The definition of pollution in the Speak Up Titusville charter amendment was “more encompassing” than the State law
  • Florida Statutes, Chapter 403 indicated that rights could not be granted that were greater than State Law
  • Whether Florida Statutes allowed for citizens or municipalities to impose stricter water standards, but which could not be accomplished by ordinance. In theory, if a city commission chose to create a community pollution control proposal, it was reviewed or approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), then such a program could be enacted, but as authorized under State Law. 
  • Other cities had enacted local pollution control programs, but which could not be enacted via municipal charter amendments
  • Concern for reading the original judgement or order and the lack of being provided a clear or detailed rationale or clarity on how the original legal ruling(s) or decision(s) were made by the judge(s) 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Diesel and Attorney Collins discussed the following:

 

  • The scenarios and legal status of the current litigation, having different judges, etc.
  • Confidence level of moving forward based on the quality or lack of a formal legal rationale not being provided and in the two prior court rulings on Speak Up Titusville, Inc.
  • Attorney Collins predicted different facts, circumstances, and outcome with the filing a new Notice of Appeal
  • Respect for the prior judges
  • The difficulty of the current decisions the City Council must weigh and make at this Council meeting
  • Concern that a new judge may not agree or determine with different facts, circumstances, etc.

 

Vice-Mayor Robinson commented on the following:

 

  • His initial view point and neutral position on the Speak Up Titusville Charter Amendment; His initial or only care was that the language was correct, etc.
  • Concern the local government was presently trying to find something wrong with the Charter Amendment
  • If the Speak Up Titusville Charter Amendment was implemented, how would it affect the citizens
  • Anticipation that lawsuits would happen if the Speak Up Titusville Charter Amendment was determined to be legal and if so, who would pay the bills and the financial costs
  • Scenarios of private individuals polluting the lagoon and who would the legal charges be brought against in these instances; would it be the local government or private individuals
  • The City or local government did not make money; it was not a profit seeking entity
  • Cleaning up the lagoon was worthwhile no doubt, but who was financially responsible if the Charter amendment was upheld
  • Were citizens prepared for an increase in taxes to cover the costs of litigation, etc. He was unsure who would have to pay for the costs

 

Member Cole commented on the following:

 

  • If unlimited individuals were allowed to bring suit, it would cost money to defend lawsuits
  • Who would pay the cost of litigation was his main concern

 

Mayor Diesel invited citizens and the public to speak.

 

Toni Shifalo submitted a public speaking card. She disagreed with the discussion and concerns on financial costs. She advised the principle for her was about accountability. To this, she read from a prepared statement that discussed her view points, her opinion that the previous legal rulings made by the judges were clear and not vague, etc.

 

Thomas Perez submitted a public speaking card. He indicated his dissatisfaction with the discussion at this meeting, on the principles that two legal rulings had already been made on these complex issues thus far, the comments about the financial concerns and costs, etc. Mr. Perez read from a prepared statement that discussed the history for why in 2021, four individuals desired creating the Speak Up Titusville, Inc. Charter Amendment Campaign, for the purpose of stopping the erosion of the common good pertaining to water that was needed for human survival, etc.  

 

Dwight Severs submitted a public speaking card. He read from a prepared statement that discussed the voter history of the Speak Up Titusville Charter amendment, the history of this litigation’s legal rulings thus far, his opinion the rulings were clear and case precedent of other numerous cases supporting the judge’s rulings were available, etc. He desired City Council to collaborate with the Speak Up Titusville Charter amendment campaign in various ways he described, in order to achieve the larger goals sought by the campaign.

 

Mr. Severs was provided an additional minute to speak. He continued and recommended the City educate the public on these matters rather than litigate, change strategies, not appeal the current legal ruling, etc.

 

Connie Milton submitted a public speaking card. She commented on whether the use of terminology could be important, such as using the words “or” or “if”, listening to the voters and the local judges that had ruled on these matters, her desire to throw out comparisons to Orange County, her support of paying more in taxes to cover certain potential costs, etc.

 

Laurilee Thompson submitted a public speaking card. She commented on the changes in the commercial fishing industry, the poor health of the Indian River Lagoon, individuals having the ability to bring suit, concerns for public health and safety and concerns about the lagoon, the importance of outdoor recreation and its economic importance to the community, etc.

 

Members Nelson and Stoeckel discussed their view points on  the charter amendment’s language, whether the language was more appropriate for the State Constitution versus a municipal charter, the health of the Indian River Lagoon had been a long standing main goal of the Council and the community, lawsuits against the City may only serve to redirect a substantive amount of dollars toward paying lawyers instead of being used to further restore the lagoon, the City did not have money or was not in the business to make a profit, Member Stoeckel and other Council Members had grown up in Titusville and cared for the community as much as many others did, etc.  

 

Mayor Diesel advised that the language in the Speak Up Titusville Charter amendment also indicated that it was not a requirement to sue the City.

 

Stan Johnston submitted a public speaking card. He commented on his concerns for a previous sewer spill and subsequent concerns for the public’s health and safety. Mr. Johnston further commented on concerns for fraud, etc.

 

Nayra Atiya submitted a public speaking card. She read from a prepared statement prepared by Maureen Rupe. The statement discussed the legal history of the Speak Up Titusville Charter amendment, concerns for using public dollars to defend the litigation, Florida environmental laws and public rights, etc.

 

Addisyn Mayer submitted a public speaking card. She read from a prepared statement that discussed human and environmental health implications related to water quality, honoring the voter results on these matters, her firsthand experience related to witnessing harm to wildlife in an unhealthy environment, etc.

 

Michael Myjak submitted a public speaking card. He read from a prepared statement and poem that discussed the legal history of the Speak Up Titusville Charter amendment, his dissatisfaction with actions taken by the municipality, the principle of preventing harm, etc.

 

Additional Council discussion ensued on the following:

 

  • An oral argument was scheduled on January 18, 2024 (indicated this was for the Orange County and Speak Up Wekiva case in the 6th District Court of Appeals (DCA). Somewhere between six to ten weeks after this date, an order should be issued that explicitly discussed whether the language in Florida Statutes was effective and pre-empted in the Speak Up Wekiva case  
  • Attorney Collins’ recommendation to City Council was to file a Notice of Appeal, allow time for the 6th DCA to issue a ruling, then evaluate how the Council felt after this time period
  • The timeline of events and expectations if and after a Notice of Appeal might be filed
  • Council’s duty to certify election results that were legal
  • The decision of whether or not to file a Notice of Appeal, certify and insert the Speak Up Titusville Charter amendment language, or wait on the outcome of the Speak Up Wekiva case
  • The indication that case law was presently being formed beyond local precedent
  • Predicting what the Florida Supreme Court might decide if the matter came before this court
  • Biblical parables and consequences
  • Listening to the voters and inserting the Charter amendment’s language, which posed many questions on unintended consequences
  • Responsibilities to the citizens
  • The financial costs that could result if certifying the voter results of the Speak Up Titusville, Inc. Charter amendment
  • Getting clarification and thorough feedback from a judicial review, input, and approval
  • Researching the available options or the process to remove the Charter amendment’s language from the City’s Charter, if the language was later determined to be not legally appropriate
  • The City Council only wanted to do right by the citizens
  • Unintended consequences, costs, or determent of deferring costs away from the current goals of correcting the health of the Indian River Lagoon
  • Unlimited legal scenarios related to various governing laws, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and options similar to the amendment’s related goals
  • If the City did not move forward with an appeal, the City could lose defenses. This was discussed in the methodologies of waiting on the outcome of the Orange County matter
  • The mental struggle of knowing that two judges already evaluated these matters and deciding what to do next
  • Ambiguity and unanswered questions
  • Mid to late March 2024 was an estimate of when an order might be issued following the upcoming oral argument on January 18, 2024, concerning the Speak Up Wekiva and Orange County case

 

Motion:

Member Cole moved to file a Notice of Appeal as recommended by the City’s Counsel of record in this matter, Leonard Collins of the GrayRobinson, P.A. Law Firm. Member Nelson seconded the motion and the roll call vote was: 

 

Vice-Mayor Robinson            No

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Cole                          Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          No

 

The motion carried (approved), 3-yes to 2-no. 

 

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At 10:03 p.m., Mayor Diesel also called for a 10-minute break. The meeting resumed at 10:13 p.m.

 

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Adopt State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) Program Housing Incentive Plan for 2024 City Manager Larese highlighted the request as provided in the Council agenda packet. The request was to approve the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC) 2024 SHIP Housing Incentive Plan. Staff were also available at the meeting to answer questions. 

 

Stan Johnston submitted a public speaking card. He commented on prior federal lending practices and concerns, consumer credit trends, fraud in government, etc. 

 

Motion:

Member Nelson moved to approve the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC) 2024 SHIP Housing Incentive Plan, as recommended. Member Cole seconded the motion and the roll call vote was: 

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Cole                          Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

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Water and Sewer Revenue Bond, Series 2023 to provide funding for two projects: Blue Heron WRF Clarifier Improvements $1,150,000, Mourning Dove WTP Filter Improvements$3,850,000, Closing costs not to exceed $50,000, total amount to be financed, not to exceed $5,050,000 - City Manager Larese highlighted the request as provided in the Council agenda packet. The request was to approve a new Water and Sewer Revenue Bond, Series 2023 authorizing the Mayor to sign and execute all related loan and contract documents with Cogent Bank as the loan provider, approve Supplemental Resolution No. 33-2023 and approve the related budget amendments to fund the projects and the first interest debt service payment.

 

Staff distributed a revised draft of proposed Resolution No. 33-2023.

 

City Attorney Broome commented on the reasons for the revised draft of Resolution No. 33-2023, which was related to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan. It was indicated that the documents before the Council for their consideration would be subordinate to those preexisting in the SRF Loan(s), etc. 

 

Vice-Mayor Robinson and the PFM Financial Advisors, LLC Representative Jay Glover discussed the terms of the loan, etc. Mayor Diesel and City Manager Larese discussed the explanation for how this type of debt was paid. Finance Director Teri Butler commented on the rationale for the proposed requests or actions. 

 

Stan Johnston submitted a public speaking card. He indicated his support of the proposed actions, that were indicated to be needed filter replacements on the water plants or facilities.  

 

Motion:

Member Nelson moved to approve a new Water and Sewer Revenue Bond, Series 2023 authorizing the Mayor to sign and execute all related loan and contract documents with the bank, as recommended. Member Cole seconded the motion. 

 

City Attorney Broome commented on the importance of specifying the name of the bank and whether Member Nelson intended to approve the resolution in the motion under consideration (being discussed).  

 

City Clerk Wells clarified whether the intent was to approve the revised copy of Resolution No. 33-2023. 

 

Member Nelson moved to amend the motion on the floor to include approving a new Water and Sewer Revenue Bond, Series 2023 authorizing the Mayor to sign and execute all related loan and contract documents with Cogent Bank as the loan provider, approve Supplemental Resolution No. 33-2023 and approve the related budget amendments to fund the projects and the first interest debt service payment, as recommended including approval of the revised Resolution No. 33-2023. 

 

Member Cole’s second held and the roll call vote was:  

 

Member Cole                          Yes

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

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It was nearly 10:30 p.m. 

 

Motion:

Member Cole moved to extend the City Council meeting until 11:00 p.m. Member Nelson seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. 

 

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Award of Contract for Blue Heron Clarifier Modifications - City Manager Larese highlighted the request as provided in the Council agenda packet. The request was to approve award of a Contract for Bid No.23-B-054LR to Razorback LLC of Tarpon Springs, FL for the Blue Heron Clarifier Modifications project in the amount of $1,129,622 and authorize the Mayor to execute the Contract. Approval of this contract was subject to the City Council approval of the project funding by issuing a Water & Sewer Revenue Bond, Series 2023 in the New Business section of this agenda.

 

Stan Johnston submitted a public speaking card. He supported the request. 

 

Motion:

Member Nelson moved to approve award of a Contract for Bid No.23-B-054LR to Razorback LLC of Tarpon Springs, FL for the Blue Heron Clarifier Modifications project in the amount of $1,129,622 and authorize the Mayor to execute the Contract, as recommended. Member Stoeckel seconded the motion and the roll call vote was: 

 

Member Nelson                      Yes

Mayor Diesel                          Yes

Vice-Mayor Robinson            Yes

Member Stoeckel                    Yes

Member Cole                          Yes

 

The motion carried unanimously. 

 

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PETITIONS AND REQUESTS FROM THE PUBLIC PRESENT (NON-AGENDA ITEMS) – None. 

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MAYOR AND COUNCIL REPORTS

 

Mayor's Report - Mayor Diesel submitted his written report.

 

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Council Reports - 

 

Member Nelson commented on attending the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and the record attendance at the recent Titusville Christmas Parade. 

 

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Member Stoeckel commented on the following:

 

  • Upcoming State Legislative topics, including business tax receipts, sovereign immunity, building permits, short term rentals, recruiting and retaining public safety personnel, etc.
  • Travel authorization request

 

Stan Johnston submitted a public speaking card on any proposed actions under the Council Reports. He indicated support of the travel requested by Member Stoeckel and covering the cost of meals. 

 

Motion:

Member Cole moved to authorize Vice-Mayor Robinson and Member Stoeckel to attend the Florida League of Cities Legislative Action Days on January 29 – 31, 2024 in Tallahassee. The motion also included authorizing Vice-Mayor Robinson and Member Stoeckel to attend the Florida League of Cities Annual Conference on August 15 – 17, 2024 in Hollywood, Florida. Member Nelson seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. 

 

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Vice-Mayor Robinson commented on attending a recent legislative related meeting. He also commented on the importance of making information and procedures clear at these meetings.

 

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Mayor Diesel commented the following:

 

  • Cocoa High school football team playing a game in Tallahassee and while there, the team toured the Florida Supreme Court
  • Record attendance at the Titusville Christmas Parade

 

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CITY MANAGER’S REPORT

 

City Manager's Report - City Manager Larese submitted his written report, as provided in the Council agenda packet.  One informational item was provided, being the date scheduled for the special City Council meeting on January 11, 2024, at 5:30 p.m., for the Community Development Black Grant (CDBG), etc.  

 

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CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT 

 

Update to City Council on the status of the litigation involving Speak Up Titusville, Inc. and to seek Council's direction on the filing of an appeal in this case – This item was formally moved and discussed under the New Business section of the Council agenda. 

 

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Before the meeting adjourned and while permissible under the State’s Sunshine Laws, Council briefly discussed their individual and lingering viewpoints on the current legal procedures related to the Speak Up Titusville Charter Amendment. They also wished each other and all individuals happy holidays.

 

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With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 10:43 p.m.