Board Members Present:
Roberto Gonzalez, Chair
Barbara Gaulien, Vice Chair
Jeff Burton, CRA Director
Scott Rudacille, Chief Assistant City Attorney
Amber LaRowe, Assistant City Clerk
Chair Gonzalez called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m., followed by a moment of silence and the Pledge of Allegiance.
1. CRA ADVISORY BOARD AGENDA APPROVAL
Motion: Mrs. Gaulien moved, Mr. Washington seconded, and the motion carried 3-0 to approve the July 13, 2018 CRA Advisory Board agenda.
2. PUBLIC COMMENT
No public comment.
3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: Mrs. Gaulien moved, Mr. Washington seconded, and the motion carried 3-0 to approve the March 22, 2018 CRA Advisory Board minutes.
4. PROPOSAL FOR ALTERNATIVE “REBATE” INCENTIVE PROGRAM
Mr. Burton informed the Board that there is a proposal to develop and construct a hotel at the Convention Center. The developer is proposing to use the twelve (12) acre site, a.k.a. Pinzon Parcel, next to the Convention Center. The developer came to the City/CRA to ask that a new rebate incentive program be considered for the development of this new hotel. This is not a new incentive necessarily; however, it is new to the City of Palmetto. There are other municipalities in the state that have programs similar to the one presented in the agenda.
Mr. Burton explained that the developer is requesting $6 million for their estimated total project cost of $64 million. There is not money that would be given up front; instead, the developer would start receiving money within a year of the project being recognized on the Property Appraiser’s property tax roll. If the developer was to start receiving money in 2021 than the $6 million would be paid by 2036. There would still need to be an agreement for this incentive, which would be prepared by the City Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Burton clarified that the CRA is asking the Advisory Board to make a recommendation on the attached proposed incentive only, not on an agreement or this specific project.
Motion: Mrs. Gaulien moved, Mr. Washington seconded, and the motion carried 3-0 to recommend approval of the Increment Revenue Rebate Incentive Program.
5. FISCAL YEAR 2018-2019 BUDGET DISCUSSION
Mr. Burton stated that attached is the proposed budget for fiscal year 2019.
Chief Tyler recommended that the Board approve the fiscal year 2019 allocations as requested. There will still be eight personnel as was provided last year. There is an 8 percent increase from fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2019 for personnel expenses and a 5 percent increase from fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2019 for non-personnel expenses. Chief Tyler will give a presentation to the Board at their next available meeting.
Motion: Mrs. Gaulien moved, Mr. Washington seconded, and the motion carried 3-0 to recommend approval of the Community Policing Plan.
Discussion ensued regarding the attached budget. Mrs. Gaulien questioned the 5th Street property in the budget. Mr. Burton explained that this is budgeted for potential future development of boat ramp parking. Currently, boaters are parking at the property located on 8th Avenue and Riverside Drive (across the street from the boat ramp). This piece of property is being put out to bid for redevelopment, therefore, eliminating boat ramp parking on that parcel. Because of that, the CRA would like to purchase and redevelop property within walking distance of the boat ramp to make up for the loss of the property that is currently being used.
Mr. Burton informed the Board that on Monday night the City/CRA Board will discuss a letter from Manatee County regarding funding for the development of the Linear Park Trail on the east side of Palmetto. Manatee County, the CRA/City and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is applying for a BUILD Grant for the development of this Trail whereby the CRA/City will be responsible for 20 percent of the cost and the Grant will fund the remaining 80 percent.
In regards to the Police Department, Mr. Burton explained that the City is still currently contemplating where to build the new building. The City is receiving half-cent sales tax funds that can be used for recreational and public safety use with the top priority being a new Police Department building. The question is now where should the City build it? The City hired an architect firm to evaluate three areas of land, one including where the Police Department currently exists. One point of discussion was if the CRA can help pay for this, and Mr. Burton’s response is yes, but it has to be built in an area of the highest crime in the City. Mr. Burton opined that placing a Police Department in the higher crime part of the City will be advantageous to the CRA and have a huge effect on crime level in that area.
Chief Tyler opined that the physical presence of a public safety facility in a neighborhood has a positive effect. He stated that the officers do not respond to calls out of the Police Department facility itself; they are out patrolling the streets and respond to calls that way. There are times they are at the Police Department, but a majority of time is spent in their vehicles patrolling and responding to calls. He stated that a majority of the Police Department’s time is spent east of 8th Avenue and that will continue regardless of where the Police Department is located. The City is seven total square miles and the locations that are being considered are all within a mile of each other. Chief Tyler does not anticipate the ultimate decision of where the Police Department will be as effecting the staffing, the patrol, and the presence of the Police Department in the community that really needs it the most.
Mr. Burton informed the Board that the cost to build police departments average around $8 million, and with all the projects the CRA has going on at this time, that cost is not budgeted in the fiscal year 2019 CRA budget. He stated if it is determined the CRA is to fund the building of the Police Department, he and the Finance Department would have to look at creative ways to fund it as there is not enough money at this time.
Motion: Mrs. Gaulien moved, Mr. Washington seconded, and the motion carried 3-0 to recommend approval of the CRA Fiscal Year 2019 Budget.
Chair Gonzalez adjourned the meeting at 2:52 p.m.