City leaders gave the go-ahead to spend $524,381 on the Maine Street Extension Project, approved a new nuisance abatement tax on noncompliant properties, and the use of Ocoee PD's forfeiture funds for local charities and department programs.
Unpaid code enforcement costs to be included on property tax bills
Ocoee commissioners unanimously approved an amendment to chapter 115 of the city's Code of Ordinances. The amendment establishes a citywide special assessment district to provide the city a cost recovery mechanism for the services the city provides in remedying issues with properties such as noise, drugs, squatters, trash accumulation, property abandonment, house dilapidation and the like. The previous ordinance in effect limited to only placing a lien on a property in an attempt to recover taxpayer monies spent on remedying these nuisances. The passing of this ordinance will provide the option of recovering costs by including any unpaid code enforcement costs as a non-ad valorem assessment on the property's tax bill. One Ocoee resident spoke against this ordinance during public comment, citing a concern with the potential of these costs being passed on to subsequent property owners inculpable for a property's past code enforcement violation.
Ocoee PD forfeiture fund to be given to local charities
Tuesday's commission meeting also resulted in the authorization of the Ocoee Police Department's request to donate money in their forfeiture fund to certain nonprofit organizations and local programs. The Ocoee PD's forfeiture fund receives money from the practice of seizing property or monetary assets alleged to be involved in a criminal or illegal activity. Distribution of the money in the Forfeiture fund will be as follows: $750 to its Neighborhood Restorative Justice program, which serves as a pretrial diversion program for children who live in Ocoee and have committed minor offenses; $1,000 to sponsor it's citizen Public Safety Academy, which educates Ocoee citizens and businesses about the police and fire departments; $1,000 to purchase bicycle helmets to be distributed to the department's crime prevention and School Resource Officer Unit to children in need at Ocoee schools and events; $4,000 for the city of Ocoee annual Spring Fling event; $2,000 to Aspire Behavioral Health Care (also known as Central Florida Crisis Intervention Team) – a facility that trains police officers how to deal with people dealing with mental health crises; and $2,000 to Crime Line, which provides crime solving tips to the police department.
Approval of expenses for Maine Street Extension Project
The mayor and commissioners approved an emergency item during the Feb. 21 meeting for a city expense amounting up to $524,381 for the Maine Street Extension Project. This project, which is part of the larger downtown master plan to revitalize the downtown Ocoee area, will provide for the extension of Maine Street from Bluford Avenue to Maguire Road. The initial estimated cost for this project was $640,333.76, so the price quote from the developer Picerne Development Corporation is significantly lower than the amount originally budgeted for this project. Exactly $498,531 of the expenses will come from the City's Stormwater fund and $25,850 will be pulled from Utility Fund's Major Water Lines Replacement and Upgrade Account from the fiscal year 2016-2017.
IN OTHER NEWS
- The city recognized several Ocoee Police Department officers and volunteers with awards for their service and dedication to the agency's operations. The Officer of the Year award was given to Officer Brandon Kerr. The CIT Officer of the Year award was given to Amanda Strong. The Civilian of the Year award was given to Dawn Carlton. The Volunteer of the Year award was given to the five-member chaplain unit. The Officer of the Quarter award was given to Sgt. Mireya Iannuzzi.
- Commissioners approved the appointment of Daralene Bell to the Human Relations Diversity Board for term ending May 2020. Currently, the HRD board has 12 members.
Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected]