Inverness council member bids farewell

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Consuegra, husband to travel country

By Nancy Kennedy

INVERNESS — Tuesday’s Inverness City Council meeting ended with a sad farewell as Council President Linda Bega announced that fellow council member Marti Consuegra had resigned from her position.

Consuegra and her husband, George, are moving away from the area to travel in a fifth-wheel camper.

“Wherever the wheel stops, that’ll be home,” Consuegra said. “Inverness has been my home for 37 years …  now we’re living our dream.”

Consuegra was elected to the council in 2006 and re-elected in 2010 for an additional four-year term.

“I’m sad to see you go,” said Mayor Bob Plaisted. “You’ve been a good, good councilperson and we’ve appreciated your candidness.”

Councilman Ken Hinkle, who sits next to Consuegra on the dais, said it will be quiet without her.

“You’re outspoken, and that’s what we need up here, people who speak their opinions and stand up for their beliefs. You are leaving Inverness a better place.”

At its July 16 meeting, the city council will declare a vacancy and either select a qualified candidate by unanimous vote or call for a special election. Whoever is selected or elected will serve through the November 2014 election.

“I don’t see anything happening quickly, but I envision there is a good chance they will find common ground in support of an individual to fill the expired term,” said City Manager Frank DiGiovanni.

In other council happenings:

* Rob Wardlow, representing accounting firm Williams, McCranie, Wardlow & Cash, presented the annual audit report, giving the city of Inverness high marks. In comparing Inverness with other cities of its size, Wardlow said Inverness always trends “favorable.”

“In this time of cities and governments cutting back, with the right planning, looking into the future, keeping money in reserve and not hitting taxpayers every time there’s a mistake, we’re still providing services,” said Councilwoman Consuegra. “I want people to realize what a stable government they have in the city.”

* Council members voted to accept a bid of $84,800 from Energy Electric Inc. to install lighting fixtures along the 2,000-linear-foot Cooter Pond Park boardwalk and in Cooter Pond Park. The city has had the light fixtures on hand for a while, some of which use solar power, DiGiovanni said.

* Those who use debit/credit cards or pay online for utility billing, permits, licenses and special event fees will pay a flat $3.95 service charge per transaction.