News Flash

Council's Corner

Posted on: September 10, 2021

September 2021 Council Updates

July 2021 council poster

All City Council meetings may be viewed at www.youtube.com/cityofdestin.

September 7th Council Meeting Recap

City Manager Report:

TDD Expansion Update - Special Counsel Jeff Burns provided an update on the status of the ongoing TDD expansion negotiations. 

Schedule of Fees Resolution 21-11 - Motion passed 7-0, to approve and adopt Schedule of Fees Resolution 21-11 as presented. Councilmember Bagby requests staff brings back a new fee schedule showing revenue neutral and staff’s proposed track changes within the next 6 months (by March 2022).

Stormwater Master Plan Update - Motion passed 7-0, to approve the project prioritization based upon the 2004 Storm Water Master Plan Level of Service, identified study areas, and city initiatives, and that these items be brought before the city’s advisory boards for recommendation to council. Councilmember Ramswell requests staff search for records of a storm water master plan that was supposedly been approved, and with funds already allocated, several years ago and bring it back.

Water Access Locations - Councilmember Ramswell requests the city’s attorneys follow up on issues related to the Sterling Shores water access that was closed off a few years ago and bring information back to council. Councilmember Schmidt would like to know the costs for clearing or cleaning up rights-of-way, properties or easements with water access to make them accessible to the public. Councilmember Destin recommends staff looking into the easement language before taking any further action because many of the easements contain some language on how they could be used; and some are not allowed to be used as water access. Councilmember Bagby recommends staff following the process in identifying solutions to problems that have been identified. This includes taking the matter to appropriate advisory committees and obtaining their recommendation on prioritization, and to the city’s attorneys for researching allowable uses for the easements. Motion to direct staff to determine allowable uses for the easements, get an estimate on the costs, and provide recommendations to obtain further directions from the council within the next 3 months passed 7-0.

Route Selections for Zerbe/Calhoun Pedestrian Improvements Phase II - Motion passed 7-0, to consider going forward with Option D and putting some improvements in place that would mitigate the closeness to US Hwy 98 and addressing some of the other issues that were discussed; and also looking at the feasibility of adding an ADA compliant tunnel.

Development of a City-Wide Safety Program - Motion passed 7-0, to Direct the City Manager to develop a city-wide safety program to provide a famework for stakeholders to work together to address speeding and other safety concerns based on:

• Community Engagement

• Education/Encouragement

• Engineering

• Enforcement

• Emergency Response

And to consider speed bumps, 3- or 4-way stop signs or other viable options to be considered by the stakeholders.

Announcements: 

CRMHP Update – 

Engineer of record to formally issue a letter of recommendation based on industry standard for possible solutions to the park issues and then move forward based on that information.

With the imminent departure of the City Engineer, the City plans to engage the engineer of record to assist the City with two monthly construction inspections and verify the billings that will be submitted.

It was the consensus of the council to allow the City Manager to employ the engineer of record to assist the city with construction inspections and billings.

Councilmember Bagby requests a copy of contract with GLC be provided to council prior to the next meeting.

Chapter 164 Meeting #2: Wednesday, September 8th, 8:30 a.m., Convention Center.

Budget Hearing #1: Thursday, September 9th, 5:30 p.m., City Hall Annex.

Board and Committee Appointment - Motion to appoint Patti Brown to the Board of Adjustment passed 7-0. Motion to appoint Bobby Wagner to the Board of Adjustment passed 7-0.

Council Comments: 

Councilmember Ramswell - Resident vs. Non-Resident Distinction discussion. City's volunteer committee mission/training/tasking/utilization - Councilmember Ramswell requests above topic be added to a future agenda for discussion of the committees’ missions and the city and committees’ expectations with regards to tasking, committee training, and how to better utilize the committee system. Councilmember Ramswell requested an update on post occupancy building inspection.

The city is planning on bringing proposed ordinance to the Local Planning Agency in October 2021/(LUA). Councilmember Ramswell addressed the issue of residents renting out their backyard and swimming pool to other people by the hour.

Councilmember Ramswell directed the City Manager to bring back a proposed ordinance on how to better address this issue. The city could address this issue under the current code as potential commercial issue in a residential area; but it would be easier from an enforcement perspective to have a separate code provision that prohibits that practice, or to limit impacts such as parking/(LUA).

Councilmember Bagby - Councilmember Bagby would like to see highlighted in a fee structure that the applicant pays for a referendum if required for a petition for a right-of-way vacation. Councilmember Bagby requests the City Attorney and the City’s Special Counsel Jeff Burn draft a request for an Attorney General’s Opinion on the proposed TDD expansion and place it on the next council meeting agenda. Councilmember Bagby would like the City Manager and the Parks and Recreation Committee to look into the feasibility of turning a 60-foot-wide utility easement located between Windsor Forrest and Eagle’s Landing subdivisions into a linear park.

Councilmember Hebert - Expanding the drive-through lanes at Whataburger, Krispy Kreme and Chick-fil-A - The city is presently in discussion with Chick-fil-A about their current site and will be reaching out to Whataburger and Krispy Kreme as well. (CD Director). Littering Fines - Councilmember Hebert requests the City Manager brings back a proposed ordinance amendment within the next couple of meetings increasing littering fines in the City of Destin from $100 to $1000. Welcome to Destin Sign - Councilmember Hebert requests council’s permission to work with the city manager and/or staff in reaching out to the Eglin administration and working on some alternatives such as raising the Welcome to Destin sign about a foot above the fence line, allowing the city to put fencing around the sign to let people have their pictures taken in front of the sign, or moving the sign to the other side of the Marler Bridge. Motion to afford Councilmember Hebert the fact-finding authority passed 7-0.

Councilmember Schmidt - Councilmember Schmidt would like to reach out to Destin High School to see if they would be interested in promoting an idea that would be beneficial for the city’s youth which is getting involved with some of the city’s projects.

September 20th Council Meeting Recap

City Manager Report:

Tourist Development Taxing District Expansion Update - Motion failed 2-5 (Bagby/Ramswell - yes; Schmidt, King, Hebert, Destin, Braden - No), to authorize the City Manager and City Attorney to forward the Attorney General’s Opinion (AGO) request letter to the Florida Attorney General.

Capital Project Status - Finance Director gave a summary of the current capital improvement projects, including status and year-to-date expenditures and encumbrances.

Operations Financial Report - Finance Director provided a summary of year-to-date budget versus actuals for the General Fund and the two CRAs.

Mobility Plan and Fee Schedule Update - Mr. Alan Steinbeck, Consultant, 3TP Ventures, Inc., presented the City of Destin Mobility Plan and Mobility Fee Study.

Leave No Trace/Turtle Flashlights - Ms. Catherine Card discussed the city’s current Leave No Trace initiative of giving out FREE turtle-friendly flashlights as part of the city’s efforts in helping with education and awareness of sea turtle nesting season on Destin’s beaches (May 1st – October 31st) and in protecting nesting sea turtles.

Miscellaneous Median Maintenance Services, authorization to renew contract with price increases - Original Motion: Authorize the City Manager to execute a one-year contract extension for Miscellaneous Median Maintenance Services with ZIIC Outdoors, LLC in the amount of $228,875.00. Substitute motion passed 7-0: To direct the City Manager to execute a 6-month contract extension for Miscellaneous Median Maintenance Services with ZIIC Outdoors, LLC; during the 6-month period, city staff is to develop standards, have the Public Works/Safety Committee review/evaluate the firms performance during the 6-month period in accordance with the standards set by the city, and bring the item back to council with recommendations to either put the services out for bid or extend the contract to the remainder of the year. Councilmember Ramswell recommends staff and Land Use Attorney prepare an ordinance that establishes high grass and maintenance standards across the board. The Land Use Attorney will look into specific grass height limitations currently in existence to determine what is enforceable.

Announcements:

The city’s very own Catherine Card was one of the people selected to meet with Governor DeSantis to discuss the state-wide assessment test and the future of that test. She represented the city very well.

Council Comments:

Councilman Braden - Approval of proposed written agreement between the City of Destin and Mr. Mike Buckingham regarding Capt. Royal Melvin Heritage Park project. Motion passed 7-0, to accept the written agreement between the City of Destin and Mr. Mike Buckingham.

Councilman Ramswell - Councilmember Ramswell requests “Parks and Parking Codes” be placed on the next agenda under her name for discussion. Councilmember Ramswell would like the city to put up signage promoting the Zerbe-Calhoun Historical District established by the City of Destin. CD Director noted they are in the process of establishing the wayfinding program. The historical district is one of the areas identified in the program. He recommends placing temporary signage at this point and then permanent signage later on as part of the overall branding of the city.

Councilman Hebert - Kudos to Public Works Director and his staff for taking care of a lot of flooding around the city within a short period of time following the recent storm event despite being short-staffed.

Councilman King - Kudos to Krystal for a seamless effort in completing a balanced budget for FY 22.

Councilman Schmidt - Councilmember Schmidt requests a livery vessel update be provided at the second council meeting in October with regards to the plan for renewal of registration for the upcoming season, specifically how things will be done differently compared to the current year.

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