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Trucks vs. pedestrians

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Score one for trucks

By Ada Lang

The city commission voted Tuesday to send a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Commission supporting a grant request to study oysters in the area.

Commissioner Sue Colson, who is active in aquaculture, explained that Dr. Bill Pine and Dr. Peter Frederick, researchers at University of Florida and Cedar Key property owners, have been working with local oysterman gathering information about the condition of oyster habitat in the surrounding waters for some months.

However, more research is needed and if awarded, the grant will help fund continuous studies of the oyster bars, the oysters themselves and best practices for oyster bar restoration. Oyster growth is affected primarily by salinity, water quality and having healthy oyster beds so the spat can adhere to the bed and produce more oysters. 

The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) also received an update on the expected tax Increment funds for budget year 2011/2012. 

Levy County Property Appraiser “Oz” Osborne, recently sent the “Tax Increment Adjustment Worksheet” to City Clerk Frances Hodges. It showed that expected revenue to the CRA will drop again slightly next year. 

Original estimates of current year taxable value of properties versus the prior year dropped by almost $5 million. The decrease had been predicted last year, as the recession continues to take its toll on real estate. 

According to Hodges, this decrease in value translates into $563,012 flowing intoCRA coffers next year, compared to $598,678 this year — a difference of $35,666 less.

Mayor Heath Davis explained that “there is nothing we can do about it” and “there is no way to make up that money.”

In other news, the road work around the school is progressing and should wrap up soon. Concerns with safety drove the debate last year on the best way to slow down traffic and a traffic circle was suggested. 

That idea was discarded early on because, Police Chief Virgil Sandlin said, “Some folks thought it wasn’t Cedar Key.” That was despite the recommendations of Hall Planning and Engineering in Tallahassee and successful use of circles in other communities.

The final recommendation was to install two 40-foot deep traffic tables, which would cause minimal problems with trucks towing boat trailers, however, the commission voted to install four tables. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, “They began to second guess themselves” and the cost. However, Sandlin asked “Is your life so hectic that you can’t lose the few seconds it takes to slow down?”  The two additional tables were budgeted and funded, at a cost of $8,000.

Ultimately, the commission decided to install only two tables and Sandlin will monitor the situation and report back to the Commission in 90 days whether more tables should be added. 

Score one for the trucks and boat trailers.