Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper

Lake City News

Lake City Keeping the Public in the Dark Again Tonight's Agenda Nowhere on City Website

City Manager Joe Helfenberger
City Manager Helfenberger

LAKE CITY, FL – Tonight, April 1, the City Council has an extensive agenda with 8 resolutions, a Community Development Block Grant public hearing, which links the City and the County, and other business on the docket. The agenda with supporting information has not been made available on the internet; neither has the short version. The 5 pm special meeting agenda is also not available.

Florida law mandates that the public be given the right to comment.

Specifically, FL statute 286.0114 (Senate Bill 50) states in relevant part:

Members of the public shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition before a board or commission. The opportunity to be heard need not occur at the same meeting at which the board or commission takes official action on the proposition if the opportunity occurs at a meeting that is during the decision-making process and is within reasonable proximity in time before the meeting at which the board or commission takes the official action. This section does not prohibit a board or commission from maintaining orderly conduct or proper decorum in a public meeting. The opportunity to be heard is subject to rules or policies adopted by the board or commission, as provided in subsection (4).

City Rules of Procedure:
Links to more articles

In order to be able to comment intelligently, the public needs access to the information and the time to review it.

This is the second consecutive meeting where the City has intentionally kept the public in the dark.

Items of Note

The City Council will be voting to replace the current schedule of fees for Land Use and Zoning Regulations.

There is no City Manager Report explaining this item, the percentage of increases or decreases or the reason for the change.

There is also nothing included showing the old fees

Items concerning the formation of two new committees by the City are also on the docket.

The proposed housing committee includes one ("1") member from the general public. This committee member is scheduled to be chosen by the Council person from district 4. A check of the City website does not list which Council member represents which district.

There is nothing at all about the organization of the City.

The City appears to also be appointing members to the joint City-County planning committee.

No members from the public are scheduled to be on the committee. It is also not clear if these meetings will be open to the public.

A shade meeting to discuss a lawsuit filed against the City gives the wrong case name. If anyone wanted to research the case and read the complaint, which is a public record, the case would be impossible to find.

At approximately 4:55 pm late Friday , March 29, City Clerk Audrey Sikes sent via email the 170 page agenda packet with all supporting information to the media, various City and County officials and one independent contractor, North Florida Professional Services.

Two members of the public were included, Glenel Bowden and Sandra Smith.

Comments  (to add a comment go here) 

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Meeting Calendar
No need to be confused - Find links to agendas and where your participation is welcome.

Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.