Newness arrives to the city of Inverness

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By Nancy Kennedy

INVERNESS — Oct. 1 brought newness to the city of Inverness as Tuesday’s city council meeting began with the swearing in of Councilman Dave Ryan, who is taking Marti Consuegra’s seat after her resignation left a vacancy in June.

City Manager Frank DiGiovanni was welcomed by Mayor Bob Plaisted as a “new” city employee — Oct. 1 began DiGiovanni’s same position with the city as an employee of SS Solutions, a staff leasing company that specializes in providing government agencies with personnel, especially employees in the Florida Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) who have reached their mandatory retirement date.

The first council meeting of the new fiscal year also featured Doug McCoy, area district manager for Waste Management, presenting the city with a $10,000 check.

“This check represents the first installment as part of our ongoing commitment to the city as far as our partnership,” McCoy said. “Over the period of our contract we’ll provide another $45,000 in total.”

He also said that the first day of city solid waste going to the Heart of Florida Environmental landfill in Sumter County went well, and the citywide recycling program that began in May has been well received.

“It appears that by the end of the first year, the city of Inverness is on track to recycle 750,000 pounds of recycling material — that’s almost as much as a full Boeing 747 weighs,” he said.

In other council news:

- In advance of representatives of the county government addressing the Inverness City Council on Oct. 15 regarding the county’s fire services assessment as it pertains to Inverness, the council voted to retain the consulting services of Tallahassee-based attorney Mark Lawson, who has extensive experience with the subject. 

“You have options,” Lawson told the council. “What I preach is this: Every taxed parcel should pay something (for fire services) ... what you have to decide is what makes the court of public opinion work.”

City Attorney Larry Haag told Lawson, “What is of concern to the council, the city is a small, compact area, and the county has established a special assessment based on what it costs to serve the unincorporated area, which is sprawling. So, is it fair for a citizen living in the city who already pays millage to have to pay the same rate as someone living in the unincorporated area?”

- City council adopted a utility system technology fee of 92 cents per billable unit to help support in part the upcoming automated metering program.

- The council also adopted a resolution to carry forward $3,021,971 from last year’s fiscal budget to the 2013-14 budget to complete planned projects, which include: Expanding the central business district, creating “art in public places,” road resurfacing and landscaping, a kayak/canoe launch, Cooter Pond boardwalk and landscape lighting, continued work on the Valerie Theatre and more.

Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com