Commission gives retiring Eller nice bonus

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By Claude Lewis

Cedar Key's City Commissioners were in a charitable mood at Tuesday night's meeting, as they voted to OK money to a devoted longtime worker who just retired plus a local church that needs help rebuilding a sidewalk.

Jimmy Eller, who worked in maintenance for 20 years, recently retired. As a thank you for his hard work and service, the commissioners broke new ground by awarding him a bonus topping $1,300.

Folks in the audience gave the commissioners an ovation for their thoughtfulness.

Also, the commissioners voted to give the Methodist Church $1,800 to re-do its sidewalk.

The DOT had just recently completed the job on 3rd and 4th Streets, but apparently someone had fallen and the edges were deemed too steep.

They want to do it right this time.

"We did the same thing for the Baptist Church," pointed out Mayor Heath Davis. "The (Methodist) Church is low on funds."

The project will be done in coordination with DOT.

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The City of Cedar Key Community Redevelopment Agency was formed in 1999, and five years later its goals were outlined in a 120-page plan following a "charette" - working groups that envisioned revitalization.

Three main goals were determined - 1) maintaining a working fishing village image; 2) preserving resources; and 3) protecting environment.

In addition to tax money coming back to the city, the CRA also works to land grants to help meet those goals.

Director Jackie Gorman said the CRA has worked hard to meet those priorities and fund projects with those in sight.

Citizen Kenny McCain spoke to the board members Tuesday night, saying that the Cedar Key CRA needed to set up criteria and perhaps even a form for those groups wanting to tap into the CRA.

McCain warned that any group could possibly make a claim and be entitled to money.

While McCain's thoughts were well-taken and appreciated, Gorman and the other board members believe there is enough information already outlined in the original CRA plan.

"It's spelled out," Gorman said. "There are guidelines detailing each project."

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Missy Jackson gave an initial outline of the 2009 Spring Art Festival, which is tentatively scheduled for April 18-19. She said it should be bigger and better than ever. She also noted less CRA money will be needed to help run the event.

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The commission finalized the deal for the City Park to stay open until 11 p.m. It previously had been closed at 9 p.m.

It was agreed that teens playing basketball was a good thing.