Homestead City Council moved briskly through a community redevelopment agency meeting, a special call meeting and its monthly committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday March 14.
The Haitian Task Force asked for a waiver of usage fees for Harris Field to conduct a soccer tournament on March 25. A representative was not present to answer questions, as Council requires, but appeared later.
“When we waive these fees, we still incur costs for clean-up,” said Councilman Jon Burgess. “In future, I’d like to see a deposit to cover clean-up costs and help putting things back, so we’re not being taken advantage of.”
Staff confirmed that deposits were also waived when fees were forgiven. Mayor Jeff Porter was told the usual deposit is $350 which is returned after deducting any costs.
Councilman Larry Roth asked the amount of fees waived last year. Staff said last year’s total forgiven fees were almost $17,000.
“If we waive fees, there should be some sense of responsibility from participants to clean-up after themselves,” said Councilman Roth.
“The consensus is there should be some sort of deposit in case of damages or if the facility is left in poor condition,” said Mayor Porter.
“But we should set a time limit for getting a deposit back, such as seven days, not thirty,” said Councilman Burgess.
After discussion, it was resolved to bring the deposit issue for fee waivers to the next Council meeting for a vote.
“But we should not be having the deposit discussion with this non-profit because the policy has not been changed,” noted Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough. She also confirmed that staff checks the non-profit status and registration of groups requesting waivers.
Before the vote, Councilman Burgess pointedly asked for help putting the fields back in shape after the tournament.
Council voted to allow the fee waiver for the Haitian Task Force’s soccer tournament.
The Chamber of Commerce also asked for a fee waiver for using the grand hall of City Hall for a military retirement ceremony. Members of Council were reluctant to allow that as the ceremony was to occur during regular working hours.
“We have questions but they’re not here tonight so we have to defer this,” said Councilwoman Fairclough. Mayor Porter agreed with the consistency of that policy and deferred the item.
Without discussion, Council moved to accept a $500,000 matching state grant for renovations at the Seminole Theatre. Homestead’s share of $1.5 million was attributed to the work already completed at the facility.
The new landscaping maintenance contract with Brightview for three years, with two one year guaranteed renewal periods, was accepted. The initial cost was $443,047. Council comments reminded the vendor to pay more attention to mowing conditions to avoid complaints made in the past.
The CRA recommended conveying 90 SW 1st Street to the City as necessary to the multimodal complex construction. It also recommended a $58,000 cost to begin painting the building facades on Washington Avenue. There are seven individual building owners but CRA decided to begin one building at a time due to patching and repairs needed for the paint job.
Council’s special call meeting consisted of accepting the property at 90 SW 1st Street.
During the committee of the whole, Council also approved its annual insurance package for the City’s property insurance, property insurance on City Hall, property insurance for the power plant, and terrorism insurance for the City. The total package cost for 2017-2018 is $901,496.
Council agreed to spend $320,834 for a new power transformer for the electrical substation. On staff recommendation, it also agreed to spend $61,900 for its own airless palletized striper that paints lines in the road, $79,500 from the Legislature’s $500,000 grant to design the new race track water tower booster station, and add back $127,540 to a larger EPA grant for Homestead’s wastewater collection system rehabilitation.