NOTICE Pursuant to Section 286.0105 of the Florida Statutes, if any person decides to appeal any decision made by the City Commission with respect to
any matter considered at this public meeting, such person will need a record of the proceedings and for such purpose, such person may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, including the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is to be based.
Vice Mayor Huffman read excerpts from the reports provided by the City Manager. She said she was not opposed to the purchase of the fertilizer plant
because it was an eyesore and said we need to take it down. She said she was also not opposed to the deal or the strings attached to it which was that we actually gave up the opportunity of 300,000 in monies for affordable housing. However, she said she had a lot of problems with the process. She said she did not see where any negotiations had taken place and it appeared to her the City Attorney wrote up the contact and gave it to him [Don Mason]. She said tonight her concern was Mr. Mason got to pick the company performing the demolition, and asked why were we not bidding this out. Said she was about saving money but more so about saving lives.
She continued and said she was not there the night the initial vote took place and she would have voted for it based on the information provided. She
continued and read staff's recommendation on the purchase of the property. She said there were nine attachments with not one pertaining to the safety of the water or soil. She asked why was the information not in there? She went on to say the other parcels needed to be tested as well. She read the provisions of the contract relative to invasive testing, the contract being as is , and the unknown cost of demolition the first time it was presented to the City Commission. She said she had to request the information from the City and only got four pages; two pages from 2004 and two pages from 2005. She requested additional information and got a timeline provided by the owner, at the time, on the monitoring of a well. She spoke about the documents provided from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and thanked a citizen for providing her with a July 16, 2018 report from FDEP. She pointed out the western parcel being a spray field, and read about ground storage tanks containing petroleum and pesticides as far back as 1984.
Vice Mayor Huffman said please don't interrupt Mr. Mason. She continued and read the regulatory history and site contamination information, the waste
characteristics, ownership, an excerpt of the hydrostratigraphic units, and the FDEP conclusions and recommendations of the July 16, 2018 report. The highlighted excerpts she read and the full CERCLA 2018 site screening report is attached hereto and made a part of the minutes. She explained the CERCLA report stood for Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and said this comes hand in hand with the public's right to know. She said had the City Manager or the City Attorney provided her the report to her she would not have voted for the purchase.
Commissioner Tyler said all of the information was there, we were in fact privy to, you may not have chosen to research it but we were privy to it.
He went on to say let's presume the land was contaminated, what are we going to do now? Renege on the contract? or mitigate the issue at the culmination of the building? He continued and said he thought the impact fee credits were to entice the builder to create affordable housing. He said the credits were incentives and the City was not going to give an individual 300,000. They will be building facilities going on our tax rolls. He spoke about attempts from the podium to mislead the residents and shared he lived in close proximity to the fertilizer plant. He continued and verified it was FDEP which responsible for the testing and clearance, and then asked if it was a mandatory requirement to be re-tested from their organization or if there were any fines.
Commissioner Tyler requested to allow the citizens to speak and then call it to vote.
Commissioner West said the best way to test the ground is to remove the building. The building had a 4 foot floor of solid concrete. You may not
agree with my opinion, but let me share it. It is easier to get the ground tested with the building gone. He spoke about the old truck stop on Highway 27, and said whatever is in the ground is already there. He said the building was solid concrete and steel. It is not contaminated, remove the building and test all of the ground. There is no threat to the community, based upon what he read, to tearing down the fertilizer plant. Remove it and if it takes ten years to decontaminate the land it is okay.
He continued and explained the property agreement went forward due to a letter from the Department of Environmental Protection stating the well did
not need to undergo any more monitoring and was good. From his perspective, when staff had received the official letter stating there was no need to continue groundwater testing, we took that is if it came from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
He continued and said it was not our intentions, in any form or fashion, not to share anything. He went on to address Vice Mayor Huffman and said he
was out of town when the request came in for the reports and he wanted to make sure all of the information was provided at one time and sent to her. In the agenda items and during discussion - he went back through the agenda items and listened to the audio of the meetings - it had been communicated you that you had that right as an elected official to have the testing done. Another discussion point was that the property was purchased as is and if you did not want to, you did not have to go forward. He said as the City Manager, he did not have any issues if the City wanted to do the testing. We, as staff, want to make sure we are going to do what you are asking. He said he did believe all of the information was communicated and apologized. He said he would go back and verify what was submitted and what was not.
Don Mason said they did not know that letter existed.
Vice Mayor Huffman said that letter was for one of three wells. It was for the wells and nothing to do with everything else. She said if you say you
recommend it, I am putting all of my trust in what you say and that is what you said. City Manager Feacher said yes I did. She went on to say you did not provide any of that information until after the fact. There was no mention of this until the last City Commission meeting. Surely you read the report and you are not concerned. The last report requested a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act follow-up inspection. Why does that not concern you?