Commissioners look at “Live aboards” policies

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By R. L. “Doc” Gardner

The City of Cedar Key Commission met on the evening of June 6, 2017 with all members present. At the top of a full agenda, the commission unanimously supported the submission of a formal plan for the construction of a “cooking shed/shelter” to be erected behind the community center. The commission volunteered to pay the permit fees once a formal plan is drafted.

A recent houseboat fire in Cedar Key led commissioners to consider reviewing current policies and ordinances regarding houseboats and other “live aboards.”

Fire Chief Robert Robinson pointed out that existing ordinances regulating such vessels are disjointed and in need of revision. Discussion ensued regarding whether the current ordinances are sufficient and even if such floating residences should be permitted at all.

Vice Mayor Sue Colson commented that she does not want to see an increase in the number of live aboards and did not want to encourage further growth in their numbers.

Commissioners agreed to send the issue to the Cedar Key Local Planning Agency to draft verbiage that is more succinct and direct than that found in the current ordinances.

The commission reviewed a proposal to add a front porch to the residence at 626 Second St. The completed project may encroach on a public right-of-way, the extent of which will not be fully known until a survey is completed. Commissioners unanimously granted approval to proceed with the licensing process with final issuance pending the findings of a survey. (See related story on page 2.)

As a carry-over from the previous commission meeting, discussion continued regarding the removal of 39 dead or damaged trees in the cemetery that are considered to constitute a danger to the public. A tree-removal service has been identified through a competitive bidding process and commissioners unanimously agreed to begin the removal process. There was some debate over the source of funding for the project, but in the end it was decided to draw money from several other projects in order to ensure timely completion. The proposed cost for removal and stump grinding will be $10,300.

Other items discussed during this meeting include:

The City’s Final Audit Report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2016, was presented by CPA Terry Kite who reviewed the report with the commission. The Report was unanimously accepted.

The new gas tax ordinance passed by the Levy County Commission that would place a 5-cents per gallon tax on gasoline. The county will receive 90 percent of the revenue generated by the increase and the remaining 10 percent would be split among the municipalities.

Authorization was issued to seek competitive bids for the purchase of a new utility task vehicle similar in specifications to that of the John Deere Gator.

Restructuring the fee schedules for electric and water services provided to businesses that rent kiosks along the dock from the City.

Approval to initiate a job search for an upcoming vacancy in the position of Public Works Director.

Chief Virgil Sandlin presented an updated report of code enforcement activities as of May 30 that focused primarily upon signage violations by local businesses and hazardous lands in terms of yard maintenance.