Bill allows commission to meet with councils
Gary Pinnell | Highlands TodaySEBRING - The last time the Lake Placid Town Council met with Highlands County commissioners, Preston Colby called the police.
Published: January 15, 2013
Published: January 15, 2013
However, at last week's county commission meeting, Lake Placid town councilman Ray Royce asked that Highlands County legislators carry proposed legislation to Tallahassee allowing municipal councils to meet outside their jurisdiction with the county commission.
"There wouldn't be any way to do that with (current) restrictions," County Attorney Ross Macbeth, so on Tuesday he proposed amending state law.
On Aug. 10, 2010, Lake Placid Town Council members attended a joint workshop in commission chambers at the Highlands County Government Center to discuss the Greater Lake Placid Planned Vision Overlay, annexation, utility services and recreation funding.
"We properly noticed it," Lake Placid Town Attorney Bert Harris said two years ago. The two councils weren't hiding from Florida's Sunshine law. "It was on television live. It was on the county's Web site live."
The problem was a Jan. 9, 2008 attorney general's advisory: the Belleair Beach City Council wanted to hold its meeting in a neighboring municipality while a new city hall was being built.
"A municipality has no authorization to exercise its legislative and governing powers" outside its borders, Attorney General Bill McCollum opined, "and had no authority to hold meetings at which official business is conducted outside the municipal boundaries."
Colby, a local citizen, complained of the technical violation to the Sebring Police Department, and Lake Placid resident Desiree Wiggins similarly accused the council in a civil action.
"I've tried to settle with Desiree's attorney, and I don't think we can agree to not meet with the county commission." Harris added in 2010 that Florida statutes direct the council to work with the county in joint planning efforts. "It's a result of those directives that led to the meeting."
However, the municipal councils of Avon Park and Lake Placid have not sojourned to the Highlands County Government Center in Sebring in two years.
"They have to be in a dispute resolution to (meet)," Macbeth said. That made no sense to him because, unless the county commission journeys to Lake Placid or Avon Park, there is no opportunity for the two councils resolve differences before there is a conflict.
Macbeth said he will present the proposed law on Friday morning when Sen. Denise Grimsley, Sen. Bill Galvano and Rep. Cary Pigman meet in the county commission chambers.
Sally Compton was appointed to the Highlands County Library Advisory Board from District 1, and Sue Rood and Margaret Dewey were reappointed from District 2 and District 5.
Brenda Walton was appointed to the Veteran's Advisory Board.
Commission Vice-Chair Greg Harris was appointed to the Value Adjustment Board.
William Bennett was appointed as a regular member, and Joan Mack, James Osborn, and Bette Tiernan as alternate members to the Board of Adjustment and the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Commissioners established Bonnett Creek Acres Special Benefit District 10, and transmitted a large scale plan amendment providing for future lake use elements.
Commissioners approved a $1,000 Highlands County tourist development council grant to the South Florida State College Foundation. The cultural programs department is advertising three shows outside Highlands County: Women of Ireland, Feb. 18; Popovich Comedy Pete Theater, Feb. 27; and Tap, the Show, March 1. An additional 215 tickets will be sold, SFSC predicted.
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