COUNCIL WATCH 


It was the first day of the next four years of our lives as doughy Buddy Dyer beamed about his recent re-election over the howls of 40 percent of Orlando’s voting population. No worries, except one: Amendment 1. While the faces on the dais were decidedly long at the thought of budget cuts, Dyer said that any statement on its impact would be “premature.” Time to get on with it.

February is Black History Month, so District 6 commissioner Sam Ings got a chance to windbag a bit – going as far as to say that he’s made black history by having to run so much – and Dyer got an opportunity to “whereas” himself into a passionless stupor, each sentence of the proclamation taking on a more perfunctory tone, not unlike that of an 8-year-old reading a book report. There would be events for him to speak at later, Ings reminded him.

“To speak, not dance,” Dyer played with stereotypes.

But something else was moving.

“I’m surprised that anyone would want to watch these meetings,” said District 4 commissioner Patty Sheehan in response to the city council telecast relocation to Bright House channel 199. “They’re so boring.”

Item: The city approves budget amendments that are necessary for the three community venues in order to establish revenues and appropriations in regard to financing sources that have been previously approved, but not yet budgeted.

Translation: In this week’s special appearance of Orlando’s dying dream, our fair leaders break out their fiscal shoehorn and wedge some “revenues and appropriations” of the venues variety into the budget ledger. Specifically, they’re codifying just how they plan to pay for Rich DeVos’ Golden Pleasure Dome™ so that our children’s children can scroll back through the annals of history and gather a clue as to just why Orlando went bankrupt, was chopped out of the map and then tossed into the sea leaving a hole to rival Lake Okeechobee. The scheme, naturally, is logic-free: $270 million from the tourist development tax, $50 million from the Magic, $12 million from an internal loan “based on the present value of Magic lease payments” and $27.5 million from a state loan, but we’ve been over this before. Tourism is bound to spike when we all get our $200 checks from the government, right? “It’s still happening,” District 5 commissioner Daisy Lynum assured.

Item: The city approves a purchase from Nextran Truck Center and Heil Environmental Industries Ltd. of four automated side-loading refuse trucks with cart grabber mechanisms.

Translation: Or, we should just throw the whole thing in the trash. The city’s approving some a la carte shopping in its acquisition of four new garbage trucks, purchasing the bodies from Heil for $339,752 (an increase of $840 per truck over the last order, because of “minor price increases and changes in some options.” Pimped!), and the four Mack cabs and chassis from Nextran ($516,500). More excitingly, they’re then going to be pushed down to Kenworth of Central Florida to install an automatic lubrication system in each. There is nothing more expedient than automatic lubrication.

Item: The city approves Naztec Inc. for traffic signal control equipment.

Translation: Our regional computerized signal system – you know, the RCSS – has apparently taken a beating from “traffic accidents, electrical storms, etc.” rendering some of the dangling stoplights impotent. You may have noticed that at certain intersections, order has given way to anarchy. To remedy this taxing postcultural situation, the city will pay niftily named Naztec $63,410. It’s a small price for the rebuilding of a civilization.

Item: The city approves a specific action item from the Nov. 14, 2007, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority board meeting.

Translation: The city’s already approved a contract of $26.8 million for improvements at OIA, but following that hasty signing, a few new expenditures have popped up that we just can’t live without. The actual changes are an impenetrable mess of engineering jargon, but the words “people mover” and “baggage claim queue” are among them, as are 7,020 square yards of asphalt. The total cost for making your two-ounces-or-less nightmare more bearable: $207,337. And just like that, it’s a $27 million improvement package. So much more impressive.

Item: The city approves the banners for the Florida Film Festival 2008. They read, “Eat It Up.”

Translation: It’s a picture of a fork holding celluloid spaghetti. Riveting.

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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