No policies govern city meetings

The issue, in the grand scheme, was of no overwhelming consequence,


Capital City Bank and the Port St. Joe commissioners were attempting to come to a fair compromise on a lease payment for the bank’s continued use of a sliver of Frank Pate Park.


What emerged, however, is that the city lacks a process, something along Robert’s Rule of Order, to govern how public meetings operate.


How motions are passed or rescinded, a policy for nothing.


The fact clouded a discussion about the possible rescinding of motions from prior meetings as well as casting of votes and left Capital City Bank where it did not want to be, paying $3,000 a month for the lease of 15 months.


The bank has used the property since directly after Hurricane Michael as commissioners pushed to rebuild private business.


The bank paid nothing for the first year and also indicated it would need 15 months to have a new facility constructed.


Additionally, Ramsey Sims said, the company had repaired some damage to Frank Pate Park and restored power poles.


Sims last week indicated the bank did not intend to rebuild on its previous site on the other side of the parking lot from the bank’s current trailer.


“We don’t want to be there like you guys won’t want us there,” Sims said.


The two sides had been trading figures for several months, with the bank contending all its research into the commercial real estate market indicated $900 a month to be fair; the bank was offering $1,000 a month.


Commissioner Brett Lowry was among several commissioners who wondered about the impact to the budget during a lean year as well as questioning whether Capital City could be off the park area in 15 months.


Commissioner David Ashbrook said he has wanted to move forward on the lease agreement and be assured of a time when the bank’s trailer will not be on park space.


What ensued was a lengthy discussion as to how or whether motions might be entertained on a subject commissioners’ had already approved.


And, it turned out, the city does not operate under Robert’s Rules of Order, which governs most public hearings, according to city attorney Adam Albritton.


Mayor Rex Buzzett suggested maybe commissioners should begin working on board policies pertaining to votes and motions.


In the end, Commissioner Eric Langston, seconded by Ashbrook, motioned to reduce the payment to $2,500 but they could not bring a third commissioner to join them.


Garbage rates


Commissioners locked in by formal ordinance garbage rates which had been negotiated and approved at the staff level.


Commissioners have also formally adopted the five-year contract with BCC Solid Waste.


The basic garbage bill for a city resident last year was $18.65, said City Manager Jim Anderson, and that will increase to $20.15 this year.


The bulk of the increase is that BCC is performing yard debris pick-up; the city got out of the business.


That yard debris adds roughly $4 per month and debris must be placed with a 4 by 4 by 4 area.


And BCC will only pick up yard debris.