COUNCIL WATCH 


;Inside council chambers,;secular praise was being dispersed with uncommon frequency. Following an invocation about "the fruits of our labors," a baker's hour of awards, presentations and recognitions saw the mayor leaving his comfy command chair for what seemed like an eternity.

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;It was difficult to pay attention to all that, though, because the University of Central Florida cheerleading squad, which just took first place in nationals, was also being honored. Eight hunky male cheerleaders and seven female cheerleaders with blonde highlights fidgeted in the front two rows, spirit oozing from their lithe bodies.

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;"I hereby declare Monday, February 26, 2007 UCF Spirit Program Day," Mayor Buddy Dyer announced, posing dangerously close to some very short skirts. Applause all around.

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;Item: The city approves an arena use agreement with BVC Sports, LLC for a major indoor soccer league.

;;Translation: The Orlando Sharks won't start playing until next fall, but the Buena Vista Company came equipped with a game ball for the mayor and hats for everyone on the dais, prompting Dyer to quickly note "each of which is worth less than $25." The Sharks will be playing at least 15 home games yearly for the next three years. For the privilege they will pay the city $10,000 per game for the first season, $12,000 per game for the second, and $14,000 per game for the third. If concession revenues exceed $115,000, the city will pay BVC 25 percent of net concession revenues thereafter. Everybody on the commission panel was "extremely pleased" with the soccer dealings. Commissioner Wyman even got up from her seat and chanted "go Sharks!"

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;Item: The city approves the purchase of a Frontier Digital Lab System from Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. for use by the Orlando Police Department.

;;Translation: Chief Michael McCoy, quite possibly a fan of the CSI frenzy on prime time TV, has had enough of the clunky forensic imaging system currently in use which is, according to an indictment printed in the agenda item, "obsolete, frequently requires costly factory repairs and is very limited in capability." All of which sounds like the very same argument one uses to get one's spouse to allow the purchase of a new car. Honey?

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;Fuji is offering the city a 25 percent discount on the digital lab system, saving the taxpayers nearly 50 grand. A final price tag of $148,465.49 does, however, sound a little hefty to get better photos of dead people; but the promise of "proprietary software scripts in use solely by the Attorney General's Office and OPD" does add some intrigue to the proceedings. OK, Chief McCoy, but you have to do the dishes for a whole year.

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;Item: The city approves the purchase of one 2007 Ford F150, two 2007 Ford Fusions, one 2007 Ford Explorer and one 2007 Ford F250 from Don Reid Ford.

;;Translation: This particular deal was inked with Don Reid Ford when Tropical Ford (a certified minority business, by the way) presented a bid nearly $8,000 higher. And even with the city's minority business enterprise super-secret discount formula – a sort of affirmative action for the city's expenditures – Tropical's bid still worked out to be nearly $3,000 too much. As a result, the city will spend $101,646 with Don Reid for some giant trucks and hot cars for the arena, the fire/safety inspectors, the fire emergency manager, and the new stormwater management assistant supervisor, a dream job with a killer company truck.

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;Item: The city approves the termination of the UCF Downtown Media Arts Center grant agreement.

;;Translation: Hey, um, DMAC's been closed. We probably shouldn't be giving them that remaining $63,337 in CRA grant money, right?

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;Item: The city approves the first amendment to the Orlando Gasification Plant Site Agreement.

;;Translation: In a harrowing tale of Erin Brockavich potential, one of the city's drainage wells on West Robinson Street may be polluting the upper Floridan Aquifer because it's adjacent to what used to be a coal gasification site in operation from 1887 to 1960. In order to make right (read: to avoid legal action), the city agreed in 2003 to a participation level of 3 percent to pay for the environmental and investigative work of the EPA. This amendment does a little price adjusting, increasing the city's maximum participation – still theoretically 3 percent – by $12,000, to $69,000. On an unrelated note, the term "gasification" does not prompt a spell check. Awesome!

bmanes@orlandoweekly.com

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