;Despite all the dry, hot air ;blowing outside, there would be only a few puffs of it inside as the mayor and commissioners got down to the tedious business of running the city of unrealizable construction. A scheduling hitch that left invocational bishop Billy Newton absent meant that the Rev. Sam Ings would have to summon the higher powers himself, impromptu-style.


; Awards were few this time out, with only a 37-year veteran of the wastewater division named Sam Sabb (starting salary: $1.84 an hour) getting individual honors. An awkward group back-pat was arranged for the city's finance department, who were successful again this year at winning the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. Congrats.


; Police chief Michael McCoy made an unexpected appearance at the dais to be presented – along with the mayor – the keys to a $40,000 truck ("It could tow this whole building!" McCoy said) donated to the police by DaimlerChrysler. Along with the keys, there was a giant Dodge check-shaped placard. "Dodge: Taking crime by the horns," it read, above the company's signature ram logo. "Dodging crime" would have been way better.


;Item: The city approves a stipulated final judgment including attorney's fees, expert's fees and costs in reference to the city versus Kimco Orlando 638 Inc.

;;Translation: Back in November, the city uttered the ultimate conversation killer – "eminent domain!" – at Kimco Realty with regards to two parcels of land on South Semoran Boulevard that the company owned. The reason? Parcel 801 is a permanent underground reclaimed water line easement, and parcel 701 is the temporary construction easement for the installation of the reclaimed water line (what?). Anyway, the city appraised the land to be valued at $73,100. Kimco, being real estate agents by trade, balked at the low appraisal, suggesting that the cost of the city's taking the land (including damages to adjoining property) was more like $111,000. Heated negotiations followed, with the city now agreeing to pay $95,000, plus $9,768 for attorney's fees and $1,768 for expert's fees. Fortunately, the city had already set aside $73,100 with the court registry at the time of the acquisition. That leaves just $33,436 due from the taxpayers. Which is actually quite a lot to pay for dirty, used water, isn't it?


;Item: The city approves a service authorization that continues mechanical and electrical service for Milan Engineering Inc. and Staley Consulting Inc. for the Orlando Police Department headquarters building fire alarm system evaluation study.

;;Translation: Without most of us knowing their plight, the folks in the OPD building downtown have been struggling with a dirty little secret. Turns out that the gloriously stylish building's fire alarm system hasn't been replaced since 1972, when the building was erected. Sure, there have been some modifications and additions of the duct-tape and twist-tie variety, but those have resulted in an orchestra of dissimilarity that could threaten the safety of our men and women in black. The city has hired some consultants to try to make it last longer and eventually phase into a shiny new detect-and-sprinkle system. But when the consultation costs $22,723, how much will a whole new system cost? Check Home Depot.


;Item: The city approves annual agreements with Action-Gator Tire, Boulevard Tire Center, Kauffman Tire Service and Goodyear Auto Service Center for the purchase of tires.

;;Translation: Tires are fairly essential to the successful operation of automobiles. Understandably (as the city has a whole fleet of automobiles), the city is concerned about its tire inventory. To that end, they've approved these four contracts totaling $561,000 worth of rubber, to be paid for out of the state's contract for the purchase of tires. Five thousand tires could make a pretty sweet fort.


;Item: The city approves an award of contract to F.W. Walton Inc. for waterproofing the exterior walls of the Orlando Police Department headquarters.

;;Translation: All sorts of improvements are going on over at the OPD, it seems (including a closed-circuit television system!), but this one is obviously the most interesting. Seven different companies presented sealed bids to do the waterproofing duties (they ranged from $132,087 to $447,250, but the low guy dropped out "due to a pricing error"), but only one, F.W. Walton Inc. will be dancing on the sealing. $177,160 worth of sealing, actually. "I think that's important," said District 6 commissioner Sam Ings. Seriously.


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