Tallahassee City Commission

City of Tallahassee

The Tallahassee City Commission is preparing to spend millions of dollars on new sidewalks— at the same time the rest of the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year is shrinking. The sidewalk issue devolved into a heated debate among commissioners during Tuesday’s budget workshop.

Lafayette Park
Eric Readerwalker via Flickr

The city of Tallahassee is being sued for not repealing its gun ordinances. Second Amendment advocates are asking a judge to force the city to bring its gun restrictions in line with state law.

The Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation and Florida Carry filed the suit in Leon County Circuit Court last month.

Lawyer for the groups Lesley McKinney says the action resulted from a February City Commission meeting at which Mayor John Marks and other commissioners chose to delay a vote on repealing local ordinances.

A looming $5 million budget shortfall means Tallahassee commissioners are looking to make cuts anywhere they can. Some commissioners suggest avoiding a certain group of people as a cost-saving measure.

“If you smoke cigarettes, it’s bad for you, it leads to cancer, it leads to lung cancer, [and] it leads to heart disease," said Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox. “It’s an elective choice that you have made. I don’t think that if you’ve made that choice you ought to be eligible for hire at the City of Tallahassee.”

Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors Thompson is recommending an 854 million dollar budget for the coming year. As part of her budget projection, Tallahassee homeowners may see their property taxes go up.

Today City of Tallahassee homeowners pay $3.70 for every thousand dollars of their home’s taxable value. But if the city’s new budget is adopted, they could see that number increase. The city’s Budget Manager Heath Beach, explained how that translates into dollars and cents.

The Tallahassee Ethics Advisory Panel is preparing to deliver its recommendations to the City’s Commissioners. 

There was a motivating event in Tallahassee that prompted the creation of the panel, but it appears public corruption in Florida is common.

City of Tallahassee

Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum is looking to add another title to the list. Mayor.

Gillum was first voted into office in 2003, becoming the youngest city commissioner ever elected to the post while he was still a student at Florida A&M University.

He's filed to run for mayor in 2014.

Back in 2010, Gillum, a rising star in the Florida Democratic Party, had made a bid to lead the party but withdrew.

City of Tallahassee / Talgov.com

After 37 years working with the city of Tallahassee, City Attorney Jim English is retiring. Mayor John Marks thanked English for his service at Wednesday’s commission meeting, which was English's last on the job.

English started representing the city in the mid-1970s for his private practice. He was officially appointed city attorney about 30 years ago and has been serving at City Hall ever since.

During Wednesday’s meeting, former Tallahassee mayor and returning commissioner Scott Maddox said, English is the best city attorney in Florida.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

The Tallahassee City Commission is ready for another term after swearing in two commissioners and saying goodbye to another on Monday evening. The new commission is full of experienced public servants who have all governed before.

In front of a near-capacity crowd in the City Hall chambers, the swearing-in ceremony began with a farewell to Commissioner Mark Mustian. He’s stepping down after nearly 10 years in office. City Manager Anita Favors Thompson said, Mustian has been an outstanding leader.

The Florida Commission on Ethics prosecuting advocate is saying that Tallahassee Mayor John Marks did violate ethics laws for taking part in several votes at City Commission meetings. Her recommended penalties include public reprimanding and monetary fines.

Diane Guillemette, a senior assistant attorney general who acts as a prosecutor for the state ethics commission, says Marks should have excused himself from voting on city matters that financially benefited companies that had retained him as an attorney. The City Commission votes happened from 2007 to 2010.

The City of Tallahassee is speeding up the process for granting home-building permits. City officials announced their plans Thursday for a faster permitting process while highlighting new homes being built in the Southwood neighborhood.

Starting on Monday, the city will aim to approve all residential building-permit applications within seven days instead of the previous 12. Shane Lambert, of the Tallahassee Builders Association, applauded the change.

City of Tallahassee Web Site / talgov.com

The proposed closure of a city-run arts-and-crafts center brought several Tallahassee residents to protest at Wednesday’s City Commission meeting. Commissioners are weighing whether to shutter the Lafayette Park center as they decide how to cover a budget shortfall of almost $1 million.

The Lafayette Park Arts and Crafts Center, which has been operating for more than 50 years, offers art classes to adults and children. Former student Molly Londot said she wants other kids to be able to experience what she did.

Tallahassee Releases 'A Report to Our Citizens'

Jun 18, 2012

The City of Tallahassee has released what it calls “A Report to Our Citizens,” a document outlining the city’s functions, budget and goals at the half-way point of 2012.

As the nation’s economy continues its slow recovery, the city of Tallahassee is trying to find ways to balance its budget without raising property taxes. The report shows the property tax millage rate has not risen since 2004.

City Auditor Sam McCall says some savings could come from proposed changes to city staff. 

Miller driving electric vehicle
Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

The city of Tallahassee announced the “Get There Green” program  on Thursday. The program starts with three parts, all aimed at encouraging eco-friendly transportation use among city employees.

First, the city has purchased an electric vehicle—it looks like a golfcart—that employees can use to shuttle between City Hall and other government buildings downtown.

In front of City Hall on Thursday, City Commissioner Nancy Miller drove the two-person, door-less vehicle. “I have a convertible, so it doesn’t bother me a bit," she said.  "And it’s very comfortable.”

City Approves Utility Credit Programs for Businesses

Jun 13, 2012

Tallahassee businesses can now receive utility credits for participating in two new hi-tech programs aimed at harnessing excess electrical power. The Tallahassee City Commission approved the plans on Wednesday.

The plans give credits to businesses for allowing the city to remotely control their energy use—say, raising or lowering thermostat temperatures— and to run their generators during off-peak times. Reese Goad, of Utility Business and Customer services, said customers and the city should benefit from the plans.

The City of Tallahassee is wondering how it will fill an expected $1.2 million deficit in the upcoming fiscal year.

City Commissioners are starting  to  review  the city's finances in advance of the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

In Wednesday's budget workshop commissioner's agreed one area they WON'T be looking to pull in extra revenue to fill the hole is through an increase property taxes.

WFSU

The parade of local candidates to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office has begun.  Tom Flanigan followed one Tallahassee City Commission hopeful who was turning in his paperwork Monday.

City Commission Seat One Candidate Daniel Parker delivered a big box of petitions to an elections office clerk, allowing him a place on the ballot.  He also has an endorsement, from former Leon County Commissioner Bob Rackleff.

“And I know him to be an effective student and advocate for strong growth management, environmental protection, intelligent urban design…”

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