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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

City Manager Wendell Johnson Recommending Lifting Utility Impact Fee Moratorium – Tonight

LAKE CITY, FL – Buried at the bottom of tonight's City Council agenda is the innocuous item: "Water and Sewer Impact Fees (Wendell Johnson)." That is the only explanation. As it usually does, the Observer has posted both the short agenda and the agenda packet (available for 30 days), which is what the Council sees. However, without drilling through the 76 page agenda packet to the last page, one would never know that City Manager Johnson is asking the Council to lift the moratorium on the City's utility impact fees.

City Manager Johnson, with Council approval, generally makes Council agendas available late Friday afternoons for its Monday evening meetings.

While the City Clerk's office makes the agendas available to the Council and the press on Fridays, at 9:55 this Monday morning, tonight's Council agenda is nowhere to be found on the City website.

As in the past, City Manager Johnson's impact fee supporting data is missing from the Council's agenda packet.

City Manager Johnson Has Been Silent

City Manager Johnson had an opportunity to advise the County's Economic Development Advisory Board at its November 5 meeting  of his pending decision to lift the moratorium. He was silent.

See the article:
Lake City, City Manager Recommends Another 12 Month Impact Fee Suspension.

Seven months ago, City Manager Johnson recommended that the City Council continue the Impact Fee suspension. At that time he had two different stories regarding the cost to the City: one figure was "well over $300,000," the other was "about $300,000." 

The City Manager did not explain the financial impact of this year's fee suspension.

Instead, he is claiming that the financial impact to the City over the past 3 years is $411,000.

City Manager Johnson, Assistant City Manager Grayson Cason, and the head of the City's Finance Department, Donna Duncan are all experts at producing spread sheets.

If any kind of historical data concerning the impact of the Utility Impact Fee suspension was produced, it was kept from the public.

Epilogue

Behind closed doors, as the City Manager played "post office" with Council members, going over the material for tonight's meeting one at a time and getting their views, it is unknown what he produced, or if they will say anything tonight.

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