March 18, 2019

4:30 PM


Elected Officials Present:

Shirley Groover Bryant, Mayor

Tamara Cornwell, Vice Mayor, Commissioner-at-Large 2

Jonathan Davis, Commissioner-at-Large 1

Harold Smith, Commissioner, Ward 1

Tambra Varnadore, Commissioner, Ward 2—(entered the meeting at 4:32 p.m.)

Brian Williams, Commissioner Ward 3


Staff Present:

Jeff Burton, CRA Director

Jim Freeman, City Clerk
Scott Rudacille, Chief Assistant City Attorney

Mohammed Rayan, Deputy Director Public Works

Scott Tyler, Chief of Police

Amber LaRowe, Assistant City Clerk


Mayor Bryant called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m.



Karla Owens, Development Services Director, discussed with the Commission the vacant parcel located on 14th Avenue West as indicated on the map that is attached to the Agenda. She indicated that there have been some people interested in development on that property for homes. In 1943 the Commission, at that time, held onto the property and adopted a Resolution declaring it as public land and for the future expansion of the City of Palmetto Cemetery (located across the street). Mrs. Owens would like to know if the Commission would like to continue to keep the property vacant for the future expansion of the City cemetery or if they would like to declare it as surplus for development.


Commissioner Varnadore questioned the current cemetery and the spaces that are available. She expressed several opinions such as the urgency and the need for more information.


Mrs. LaRowe discussed the current cemetery and the availability of spaces. Information is as follows:


·         The cemetery has approximately 3,803 spaces total

o   1,058 of those are spaces sold with no burial

o   24 are unavailable for use due to roots, trees, etc.

o   144 spaces are sold and reserved for a specific person

o   108 have cremains interred

o   128 are designated for Manatee County indigent burials

o   2,333 have casket burials interred

o   8 are owned by the City

§  4 can be used for full burials (casket)

§  4 can only be used for urns

·         There are six people on the waiting list

o   Three of those people would like 4 or more spaces together

o   Three of those people would like two or more

§  Staff has reached out to those three people and they are not interested in the spaces the City owns

·         Five people own spaces in the cemetery of two or more who would like to sell them, the people wanting spaces do not want these either.


Mrs. LaRowe expanded upon the 1,058 sold spaces with no burials. Section 9-5 of the City’s Code of Ordinances provides guidance to the City on addressing the unused burial spaces. Mrs. LaRowe is researching all 1,058 spaces and logging the owners name, last known address (if available), if purchased by deed or Burial Right Certificate-noting if the City has a copy of either. If an address or contact information is available, staff is sending out letters to those known individuals asking for them to confirm ownership and providing any other contact information available. The goal, after researching and contact, is to determine which spaces of the 1,058 fall under Section 9-5 of the Code and then follow the appropriate protocol to take ownership back of those spaces and, in turn, sell them to people who are interested. Mrs. LaRowe reiterated that there are only six people on the waiting list and there is not and has not been a sense of urgency in purchasing cemetery spaces.


Commissioner Davis agreed with Commissioner Varnadore on waiting to see the outcome of staff research. He too did not think there was an urgency to this.


Commissioner Williams does not necessarily think that the vacant land needs to be used for expansion of the City Cemetery; however, he opined that a use for City recreation might be more practical.


Commissioner Smith agreed with Commission Williams and opined it may be a good location for T-Ball and/or soccer.


Mayor Bryant informed Commission that the rescission of the 1943 Resolution is on the 7:00 p.m. Agenda; this will be removed and placed on a future Workshop Agenda.




Mr. Freeman explained that staff is seeking Commission feedback on the Personnel Policy and the Sick Leave Donation Program [as presented on March 4].


Commissioner Cornwell asked staff to ensure that notifying employees of a need for donation of sick leave does not violate the rights of the person on sick leave, i.e. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Mr. Freeman will discuss the Commissioner’s concern with Anne Chapman, Labor Attorney.


Commissioner Davis questioned if a City “sick bank” would be better than a peer-to-peer program as proposed. Mr. Freeman stated that the Committee who reviewed the Policy and discussed this new Program thought that having a peer-to-peer donation program would elicit more participation.


Commissioner Varnadore discussed Section 9.01 C that requires reimbursement to the City for costs associated with approved training if an employee leaves the City within one-year of receiving the certification and/or training. She opined that this should not be required for any employee that has to leave the City due to a hardship, i.e. husband is deployed or they have to take care of a parent or child for special needs. She requested that further clarifications be made in this Section to outline what event would constitute reimbursement and what type of event would not.


Mayor Bryant adjourned the meeting at 5:48 p.m.


Minutes approved: May 6, 2019


James R. Freeman


James R. Freeman

City Clerk




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