After approving an ordinance for Quincy’s new Rules of Order and Procedures in a 4-1 vote to meet new state requirements, the city approved proclamations for October, naming it Domestic Violence Awareness and Breast Cancer Awareness month.
They also addressed an annexation request for UF/IFAS and adjacent property owners around the I-10 intersection on Pat Thomas Parkway. A representative of the Shaw property on the south side of I-10 approached the city for voluntary annexation. UF/IFAS director is receptive to the voluntary annexation and will initiate the University of Florida’s approval process, according to a staff memo.
The entire proposed annexation area includes a total of approximately 1,706 acres. “This has been priority #1 for annexation from 2000,” said Planning & Zoning director Bernard Piawah. “This is a very important asset for Quincy and they’ll be on Quincy utilities.”
City manager Jack McLean said the city has enough current capacity for water and sewer in that area. Talquin has been serving the area. Utilities director Mike Wade said the city also has a lift station on the south side of I-10 as well as one at IFAS. “They are connected so no additional impact. Any further development would need an additional lift station,” said Wade.
McLean said the city will be meeting with Talquin Electric to talk about any impact to their interlocal agreement. The board gave unanimous approval.
Mike Wade also gave a report to the council on a DEP requirement to update its wastewater treatment plant permit that expired August 14th. The state DEP has given Quincy a draft permit after a review by the department. That draft includes three changes: A copper-monitoring was changed from monthly samplings to quarterly. A sink-monitoring was removed. An expanded mercury monitoring , left out of the previous monitoring in the previous permit, was changed from testing once a month over 3 years to 4 tests in the next 12 months.
Then the fireworks came, after an audit report from Ronald Thompkins of the Watson Rice CPA firm. “We have had reconciliation problems in the past and city staff has hired a reconciliation firm to complete the reconciliations. This will be faster and cost you less. This is a good move. They’ll be reconciling month by month and will come up with some valid numbers. It’s worth the extra time. The approach staff is taking will save additional money,” said Thompkins.
“Reconciliations have not been done month by month. It becomes exponentially worse,” said city manager Jack McLean. When asked what the rationale for not getting it done, McLean said, “There’s no excuse for it.”
During commissioners’ concerns, Derrick Elias said reserve amounts have fluctuated up and down. “It sounds like our reserves are being manipulated or fabricated,” he said.
McLean responded that neither had been done. Elias then made a motion to terminate the manager, and it was seconded by Micah Brown. The city attorney advised the board they had to give notice to do that. “That requires two weeks’ notice in the charter. You must hold a public hearing,” said Jerry Miller.
It will be on the agenda at the next Quincy meeting.
Commissioner Larry Edwards followed with comments on the city’s finances. “There is reason for concern - we’re tight. But when a commissioner calls someone publicly a liar, that needs to be reported. It’s despicable to call a staff member a liar. We need to look into ethics charges about his commission seat and position,” said Edwards.
Following the meeting, city manager McLean said about the alleged commissioner behind his being called a liar. “I don’t appreciate being called a liar. It’s uncalled-for, unpro-fessional, and not a good representative as a sitting commissioner. The previous year’s utility revenues were way down because of a very warm winter and cooler summer. We expected $30 million and only got $27 million. We ended this fiscal year $2 million short, in a large part because of the weather. It’s unfair to blame any one person responsible. The question is, is the city better than before? Don’t look consistently at one commissioner’s personal agenda, and I don’t know what that is,” said McLean. He said reserves fluctuate every year.
“Funds left over at the end of the year either go into reserves or get paid out as needed for bills,” he said. “Reserves are funded by cash flow. If we have overage, it goes into reserves. If it needs to be paid out it goes out on bills.”