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Cocoa Beach – CRA And Commission Meeting Tonight.

Cocoa Beach will be hosting a CRA and a regular Commission meeting tonight starting at 6:30 PM.

The agendas for both meetings can be found here.

The big item in the CRA meeting is the approval of a $4.7 million dollar loan for the new downtown City buildings. The amount won’t cover all of the costs (not even close) but the loan will have the ability to extend payments to the end of the life of the CRA itself in in 2032.

Frankly, we are puzzled by this and one of these days we are going to have to sit down and figure out how a City with similar populations to towns south (Indian Harbor and Satellite Beach) has a budget 4 times greater than those two towns and is still clamoring for more money. We know that there are differences in some services as in the number of patrolling police and a larger fire department, but that doesn’t account for the differences. One of these days we are going to have to sit down and go line by line through the various budgets of the towns and see what is being spent where.

The regular meeting is somewhat basic. There is an item agenda for approving the location of a new emergency services tower that had been discussed before.

There is also the contract for the new legal firm which is set to take effect July 1 and run for five years.

As always, the meeting(s) can be seen on the City’s website and on Spectrum channel 497.

Hope to see you at the meeting where you can make your voice heard.



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Cocoa Beach: “They Did A Complete Job.”

“They did a complete job,” is how CRA Administrator Melissa Byron characterized the application for submitted by the Cape Canaveral Masonic Lodge for a CRA grant on Thursday, June 1, 2017.

As we noted the other day, the application was missing a site plan. The application was missing comparable estimates for the work on the building. The application was missing a second estimate for the awning. The application was missing two estimates for signage. The application was missing estimates for landscaping and the plants that are going to be used in the landscaping.

All those things are required by the application.

None were done.

Yet Byron said the application was a “complete job.”

We’d hate to see an “incomplete job.”

Unfortunately, things did not get better for facts and things to consider for this grant.
(more…)

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Cocoa Beach: BREAKING NEWS Commission Selects Vose Law Firm As Legal Counsel.

Just a few moments ago the Cocoa Beach City Commission selected the Vose Law firm to provide legal services to the City.

The selection process was that the Commissioners selected two of the three candidates for the position.

That vote went as follows:

Fowler and O’Quinn 2 votes (Miller, Woulas)
Shepard Smith & Cassady 4 votes (Martinez, Williams, Woulas, Malik)
Vose Law Firm 4 votes (Martinez, Miller, Williams, Malik)

With Shepard Smith & Cassady and the Vose Law Firm being the top two choices, the Commission then voted on the actual firm.

Shepard Smith & Cassady 2 votes (Williams, Woulas)
Vose Law Firm 3 votes (Martinez, Miller, Malik)

The Commission then tasked City Manager McKnight to negotiate a contract with the Vose Law Firm and present a preliminary contract for approval on June 15, 2017.



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Cocoa Beach: CRA And Regular Commission Meeting Tonight.

Tonight the City of Cocoa Beach will host a CRA meeting which starts at 6:00 PM and a regular meeting that starts at 7:00 PM.

The agendas for both meetings can be seen here.

The CRA meeting has an application for a grant from the Cape Canaveral Masonic Loge located in the downtown area at 149 South Atlantic Avenue.

The estimated cost of the job is $14,249.00 and with the grant being half of that at $7,124.50.

First, we have to say that this is another application for an occupied building whose owners are seeking money from the taxpayers because they did not perform the upkeep on the building. That’s really all there is to it. This type of grant leads to companies and groups not taking care of their property.

Secondly, we have no idea how this application even made it to the CRA Board as it is incomplete.

The City requires site plans for the proposed work. There are none. There are two pencil drawings but it is hard to say they qualify for any type of site plan for the work being done.

Secondly, the City requires two estimates for the work being performed. There are two bids, but neither bid addresses all the work that is being proposed nor does it include the costs of all the projects.

There is a bid from Johnson Construction Corp that lists the work being done but oddly does not give a total for all of the work. That’s okay, we have a calculator and when we add up their work, the total bid is $11,850.00

Canaveral Plastering Services has a bid for $11,550,00 but the kicker is the work being done is not the same on the two bids. For example, one bid pressure washes and paints the entire building while the other bid only pressure washes and paints three sides, leaving the east side dirty.

As we said, the application says the amount of the work is $14,249.00 which is not the amount of the bids.
(more…)

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Cocoa Beach: The Legal Services Workshop Impressions.

As we said yesterday, last night the Cocoa Beach City Commission held a workshop with public interviews for the three remaining candidates.

We were unable to attend for a couple of reasons, but we did record it and watch it.

If you want to know what our impressions of the meeting and the candidates were, sorry, but we aren’t going to tell you.

At least not at this time.

We know that there are people out there who think and say “if Hoecakes likes this applicant, we should hate them. If Hoecakes hates this applicant, we should support them.”

That’s the way that rolls sometimes.
(more…)

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Cocoa Beach: Legal Services Workshop.

Don’t forget that tonight the City of Cocoa Beach will hold a workshop starting at 6 PM where the public can see the three remaining finalists for providing legal services to the City in “action.”

The agenda for the meeting is found here.

Presentations by City Attorney candidates. (Listed on the agenda alphabetically.) Presentations to include:
– Introduction of Attorney and legal firm experience – 15 minutes
– Questions by the City Commission – 15 minutes
– Questions from the Public – 10 minutes
Interview times are flexible and subject to adjustment.

Of course, the interesting thing to us is that this meeting is after the City Commission members have had individual interviews out of the public eye but yet they are getting more time to ask questions than the other 10,000 people in Cocoa Beach. Don’t get us wrong, the law firm will work and at the direction of the Commission so perhaps it is right that the Commission have more time. At the same time, if the Commission members haven’t asked the questions they want asked in the private interviews, do they really need more time – especially more than the people who will be paying the bill?
(more…)

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Cocoa Beach: Well, That Didn’t Take Long.

We said earlier that we thought the Cocoa Beach Tattoo Company would initiate a legal appeal to the decision of the Board of Adjustment.

Our ninjas have sent word that they have done just that.

The company is being represented by attorney Kimberly Bonder Rezanka, who you may remember won the shark sign case.
(more…)

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Cocoa Beach: Dear Commissioner….

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a copy of an email we have sent to every member of the Cocoa Beach Commission. We are doing this prior to the May 30, 2017 workshop on the selection of a firm to provide legal services to the City. We probably would have sent a representative to both the Commission meeting and Board of Adjustment meeting to highlight the failure of sound legal advice from the City Attorney, but both meetings occur after the workshop. We wanted to give Commissioners additional information of which they may not be aware.

Dear Commissioner,

On May 30, 2017 the City of Cocoa Beach Commission will hold an public workshop for the purposes of presentations and public interviews from both citizens and the Commission as a whole for the purpose of contracting with a firm for legal services.

One of the proposed firms is the current firm upon which the City relies upon for legal services: Fowler, O’Quinn, Feeney & Sneed, P.A.

We have been critical of the firm in the past due to a lack of preparation (the City seal issue,) a lack of quality legal advice (i.e. City rules that allow dissenting voices to be removed,) a lack of professionalism (acting as Board members rather than being a consultant to that Board,) and giving legal advice that was wrong (City seal issue on costs.) Several times we have sent a representative to your meetings to discuss these issues.

However, due to the timing of the workshop and the timing of a regular Commission meeting, we are not able to highlight another instance of a legal problem caused by Fowler, O’Quinn, Feeney & Sneed, P.A. – specifically Attorney Marsha Segal-George.

We will try to be brief but give some documentation to what we are saying.

On May 17, 2017 the Board of Adjustments met to and under new business looked at three cases. ((Agenda here: http://cocoabeach.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=3104 )

Case “C3” was an application for a “special exemption” from the Cocoa Beach Tattoo Company represented by the owner David Cox. (the case briefing can be seen here: http://cocoabeach.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=3104&meta_id=166388 )

At issue was the applicant wanting to locate a tattoo shop within 2000 feet or another tattoo shop. The actual distance of 1730 feet required a special exemption under the Land Development Regulations (LDRs.)

During the discussion of the case, Chairman Don Haynes said he seemed to remember “legislation or something” that tattooing was a First Amendment issue and asked the City Attorney if the City “could get in trouble.” (Timestamp 01:26:31 of the video.)
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