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City commission swears in new leadership

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By Ashley Thornton

Correspondent

The May 21 Cedar Key City Commission meeting began with the swearing in of mayor and city commissioners, followed by nominations and votes for mayor, vice mayor, police chief, city clerk, city attorney and fire chief, all of whom remained in their current positions.

Mayor Gene Hodges said, “I want to thank the commission for carrying on the job while I was gone. Thanks for the help and prayers.” Hodges has been out on sick leave. 

There was much discussion on the vacancy of the Planning and Development administrator position. The duties of the position have fallen onto the shoulders of the police and fire chiefs. There is currently no money or candidate available for the position, so talks are being pushed back until budget time. 

If funds become available at that time, it will be decided if the commission should proceed to advertise the position. 

A motion was made and approved for Fire Chief Robert Robinson to be interim planning and development administrator until budget time. Teresa George also agreed to assist Robinson. While willing, Robert noted that, “When your platter is full, your performance lacks when there’s so much to do.”

A code enforcement position, which would require the use of a licensed attorney, was also part of the discussion. Due to financial limits, it was decided that the board could trigger code enforcement only when needed until budget time.

In other matters:

• Commissioner Sue Colson said that she would like to discuss the Historical Review Board in the future . She would like the HRB to decide what is and isn’t allowable in the historic district and bring it to the the board of commissioners to approve or not.

• The city's audit report for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2012, was delivered by Robert Beauchamp. He reported a trend in expenditures exceeding the revenues. In 2011 the over expenditures were roughly $40,000 and since that time have been much higher with a current balance of approximately $124,000. 

Other auditor's notes included a separation of duties not being seen due to the limited staff, and a lack of budget amendments to address the overspending. 

Beauchamp said some steps have been taken to correct the situation.