Council watch 

Billy Manes pays attention to city government so you don't have to

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Before this week’s collective scratching of civic heads could gather the serious static friction required to purchase garbage trucks ($240,000!) and replacement police vehicles ($132,000!), the city asked that everybody turn their ears and heads to the sky for a quick summertime reminder. “When the thunder roars, go indoors!” Yep, that’s actually a campaign and not just a booming voice in your head. Shocking. Anyone want to talk about the annual budget?

The city approves a proposed fiscal year 2013-2014 city millage rate of 5.65.
Translation: Earlier this month, the home-owning population of Orlando clenched its jaw at the notion that the mayor might have to raise property taxes this year, even though the mayor’s key plank in his forever-campaigning platform is that he will never raise property taxes. The idea was presented as a possible means of overcoming a projected $12 million budget gap being hammered out right now. In the end, the mayor did not increase property taxes, and we’ll have to settle for the $102,111,148 that a 5.65 millage rate should bring in. Hooray?

The city approves an initial maximum construction cost for the construction manager at risk agreement with Turner Construction Co., regarding the Florida Citrus Bowl renovation.
Translation: A couple weeks after the revelation that Orange County and Orlando were negotiating to get $60 million more from the tourist tax kitty in order to finish what they started with the $1 billion venues deal in 2007 – oh, and add an $85 million soccer stadium – the city is moving forward with the next logical step in its Citrus Bowl renovation: spending big money! The city will authorize its procurement officer to ante up $42 million for concrete, utility relocation, and other nuts and bolts necessary to make this thing nobody wants to happen.

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