Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Stormwater Fee Ordinance Adopted
Working Mom Waits for Stormwater Vote

Ms. Decker waited 35 minutes to hear the Stormwater Fee Ordinance vote.

LAKE CITY, FL – Last night in City Hall, Mayor Steve Witt presided over a sometimes contentious meeting while quietly, Chamber of Commerce Director Dennille Decker, after addressing the Council on the Stormwater Fee Ordinance, sat with her two daughters waiting for the vote.

Shortly after the meeting got underway, Director Decker addressed the City Council:  "Good evening everyone. I'm here representing the Lake City/Columbia County Chamber of Commerce."

Ms. Decker reminded the Council that the chamber hosted a stormwater workshop seminar. (Reversal of Plans, City Manager Scrambling, Says Council Members Won't Attend Spec Chamber Meeting)

Ms. Decker explained that after the meeting (stormwater seminar), "We sent out a survey to our membership. Of 578 members, about 10 percent of our membership participated."

The survey included questions ranging from: "Do you feel the City's stormwater infrastructure is adequate?" Answer: no.

Question: "Do you feel the storm water fee is reasonable?" Answer: no.

To: "Do you feel adequately informed about the use and administration of the stormwater fee?" Answer: no.

Ms. Decker concluded, "On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and its members, I just wanted to present those results."

Mayor Witt thanked her for the information.

Public Notice: Did Lake City Drop the Ball?

The Florida Statutes require that the public be aware of pending ordinances.

FL stat.166.041(3)(a) explains the process:

... a proposed ordinance may be read by title, or in full, on at least 2 separate days and shall, at least 10 days prior to adoption, be noticed once in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality. The notice of proposed enactment shall state the date, time, and place of the meeting; the title or titles of proposed ordinances; and the place or places within the municipality where such proposed ordinances may be inspected by the public. The notice shall also advise that interested parties may appear at the meeting and be heard with respect to the proposed ordinance.

Lake City did not publish a notice in the newspaper advising the public of the ordinance, nor did it "... also advise that interested parties may appear at the meeting and be heard with respect to the proposed ordinance."

Notice requirements in Florida are strictly construed.

The Stormwater Ordinance

The Lake City Website

The Lake City website did not provide the Stormwater Rate Study, nor did it provide the proposed Stormwater Ordinance before last night's meeting where it could easily be located.

However, the ordinance was buried in the meeting agenda, which the City provides on Friday nights before its Monday meetings.

Ms. Decker Waited 35 Minutes

Thirty-five minutes after Ms. Decker addressed the City Council, in a 5-0 vote without one word of discussion, the City Council adopted the ordinance.

The Stormwater Ordinance is again scheduled for the next Council meeting.

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