Quality Cities | First Quarter 2022

Page 1

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

▸ President Promotes The Advo-Kit p. 24 ▸ FLC 100-Year Timeline INSERT

QUALITY CITIES

▸ Exploring Infrastructure Win p. 44

A PUBLICATION OF THE FLORIDA LEAGUE OF CITIES FIRST QUARTER 2022

100TH ANNIVE RSARY See p. 30

CITY SPOTLIGHTS: ▸ CRYSTAL RIVER ▸ DADE CITY ▸ NICEVILLE

FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK RECAP p. 48


Providing local governments with

HIGH-QUALITY FINANCIAL SERVICES. INVESTMENTS:

Investing Together for Local Benefit Are your investments properly diversified in today’s current environment?

RETIREMENT:

Protecting the Retirement of Those Serving the Public Could hidden fees be derailing your retirement plans?

LOANS:

Making Your Dollars Do More for Local Communities Debating a new construction project or refinancing an existing loan? Contact Jeremy Langley Account Executive jlangley@flcities.com 859.552.5224

FLCITIES.COM


BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT Phillip E. Walker, Commissioner, Lakeland Quality Cities Magazine Volume 96 | Number 1 PUBLISHER Jeannie Garner EDITOR AND CREATIVE PROJECT MANAGER Joy Dickinson ASSISTANT EDITOR Kelli Gemmer WRITER/EDITOR Sheryl S. Jackson GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Sydney Fraser Bonnie Gaupp Jena Glantz CIRCULATION Eryn Russell Stay informed: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Visit our website at flcities.com. Quality Cities (formerly Quality Cities ’90) (ISSN 0892-4171) (USPS Number: 201-780) serves as a medium of exchange of ideas and information on municipal affairs for the public officials of Florida. The views expressed and the data presented by contributors and advertisers are not to be construed as having the endorsement of the Florida League of Cities unless so specifically stated. No material from this publication may be reprinted without the express permission of the editor. The mailing address for the publishers of Quality Cities is P.O. Box 1757, Tallahassee, FL 32302-1757. The telephone number is 850.222.9684, and the email address is jdickinson@ flcities.com. Offices are located at 301 S. Bronough St., Suite 300, Tallahassee, FL 32301-1722. Quality Cities is published quarterly by the Florida League of Cities. Periodicals Postage Paid at Tallahassee, Fla., No. 201780. Postmaster: Send address changes to Quality Cities, P.O. Box 1757, Tallahassee, FL 32302-1757. The yearly MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION rate for members is $10.00, other governmental agencies – $15.00 and nonmembers – $20.00 for four issues.

FIRST VICE PRESIDENT Jolien Caraballo, Vice Mayor, Port St. Lucie SECOND VICE PRESIDENT Greg Ross, Mayor, Cooper City DISTRICT DIRECTORS (1) William Schaetzle, Mayor Pro Tem, Niceville (1) J.B. Whitten, Mayor, Crestview (2) Jake Hill, Councilmember, Lake City (3) Robert F. Apgar, Mayor, DeLand (3) William Partington, Mayor, Ormond Beach (4) Carol McCormack, Mayor, Palm Shores (4) Dominick Montanaro, Vice Mayor, Satellite Beach (5) Louie Davis, Mayor, Waldo (5) Cal Rolfson, Councilmember, Mount Dora (6) Joseph McMullen, Commissioner, Oakland (6) Rosemary Wilsen, Commissioner, Ocoee (7) Sam Fite, Vice Mayor, Bowling Green (7) Marlene Wagner, Vice Mayor, Lake Hamilton (8) Tyler Payne, Mayor, Treasure Island (8) Jamie Robinson, Commissioner, Largo (9) Susan Gibbs Thomas, Councilmember, Indiantown (10) Brian Williams, Commissioner, Palmetto (11) Fred Forbes, Councilman, Bonita Springs (12) Kimberly Glas-Castro, Vice Mayor, Lake Park (12) Lawrence Gordon, Vice Mayor, Haverhill (12) Jeff Hmara, Councilman, Royal Palm Beach (13) Traci L. Callari, Commissioner, Hollywood (13) Todd Drosky, Commissioner, Deerfield Beach (13) Bob Mayersohn, Commissioner, Parkland (13) Gary Resnick, Commissioner, Wilton Manors (13) Iris Siple, Commissioner, Pembroke Pines

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(13) Susan Starkey, Councilwoman, Davie (13) Beverly Williams, Vice Mayor, Lauderdale Lakes (14) Juan Carlos “JC” Bermudez, Mayor, Doral (14) Joseph Corradino, Mayor, Pinecrest (14) Rodney Harris, Mayor, Miami Gardens (14) Crystal Wagar, Councilmember, Miami Shores 10 MOST POPULOUS CITIES Samuel Newby, Council President, Jacksonville Ken Russell, Commissioner, Miami Joseph Citro, Councilmember, Tampa Robert Stuart, Commissioner, Orlando John Dailey, Mayor, Tallahassee Heather Moraitis, Vice Mayor, Fort Lauderdale Stephanie Morgan, Councilwoman, Port St. Lucie John Gunter, Mayor, Cape Coral Vacant (Hialeah) Vacant (St. Petersburg) PAST PRESIDENTS Scott Black, Commissioner, Dade City Frank C. Ortis, Mayor, Pembroke Pines Joy Cooper, Mayor, Hallandale Beach Patricia Bates, Mayor, Altamonte Springs Matthew D. Surrency, Commissioner, Hawthorne Leo E. Longworth, Commissioner, Bartow Isaac Salver, Council Member, Bay Harbor Islands Antonio “Tony” Ortiz, Commissioner, Orlando AT-LARGE Roy S. Shiver, Commissioner, Florida City FCCMA EX-OFFICIO MEMBER Micah Maxwell, Assistant City Manager, Clearwater Jeannie Garner, Executive Director/CEO Kraig Conn, General Counsel

MUNICIPAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

The Florida League of Cities’ 14th annual Florida Municipal Achievement Awards Program gives municipalities an opportunity to share their success stories by nominating city initiatives, programs and projects that have addressed a local need, increased civic awareness and engagement, or promoted conservation for the awards. Award categories include City Spirit, Florida Citizenship and Environmental Stewardship. Nominations must be postmarked by Friday, April 15, 2022. For more information, go to bit.ly/3tjzkjf. FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 3


QC contents QUALITY CITIES

VOL. 96, ISSUE 1, FIRST QUARTER 2022

30

COVER FEATURE 30 Centennial Celebration

Florida League of Cities commemorates 100 years

32

History of the League FLC services and influence grow through the years

DEPARTMENTS Legislative

CITY SPOTLIGHTS 14 Small City, Immense Amenities

Niceville’s recreational area appeals to residents and visitors alike

16 18

City Puts Its Heart in Art

26

Business Watch

37

Sculptures and hay bales placed throughout Dade City

Downtown Enhanced, History Preserved

Keep Momentum Going Stay involved and up to date on advoacy until sine die

Electric Vehicle Case Study Significant economic and sustainability benefits revealed

Municomm

47

Crystal River revitalizes downtown with Town Square

The Business of Body Language How your nonverbal communication is telling its own story

Lifestyle

58

48 4 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

59

Eliminating Bad Breath Going beyond the breath mint

On the Road Again Tips for making trips go smoothly in 2022


24

IN THIS ISSUE

FEATURES 12 FLC Staff Celebrates

League offices hold annual staff retreat, recognize employees

24

The Advo-Kit

Online Tool Tracks Legislation

35

ARPA Final Rule Released

From the President

8

QC Today

9

Meeting Calendar

20

Commentary

League and member news

Valuing family through service

President Walker announces advocacy toolkit to aid municipal officials

28

7

City of Largo launches easy-to-use resource

23

Employee Profile

29

anniversaries

Alonzo Hatchette

Treasury clarifies State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

38 40 42 44 48

Redistricting at the City Level Steps to help keep you in line and out of court

Not All Debt is Bad Look at risk associated with debt, and choose projects carefully

Video Competition Winners Youth councils recognized for showcasing creativity and commitment to communities

Exploring Infrastructure Win Cities celebrate funds for transportation, broadband and water

Recap of Florida City Government Week

Florida League of Cities

100 YEARS

1998

Tallahassee office opens

1989 Constitution Revision Commission created with League representation

League moves to Jacksonville

1969

New Florida Constitution with Home Rule provisions adopted

Task Force on Florida’s Future: Quality Cities

2009

Florida Municipal Achievement Awards program

1990

Home Rule Heroes

Amendment 3 passes, limits unfunded mandates

First female League President: Virginia S. Young

1999

Florida Municipal Loan Council

INSERT

League moves to St. Petersburg

1971

The League moves to Tallahassee

1981 1970

Raymond C. Sittig appointed Executive Director Name changed to Florida League of Cities

Grants assistance program with eCivis

New FLC University Training Center in Orlando

Local Voices United grassroots advocacy

LOCAL V ICES UNITED

Ambassador Program

Strike Force for Local Property Tax Relief Florida Urban Partnership

First League Hispanic President: Robert (Bob) Martinez

Insurance trusts pooled (Florida Municipal Insurance Trust)

Florida Municipal Loan Program

Michael Sittig becomes Executive Director

2019

2006

Federal Action Strike Team

1985 1965

1946

MuniMod

2010

1992

Institute for Elected Municipal Officials

First Legislative Conference

2021

2015

Special Investigation Unit

1972

Municipal Revenue Sharing Trust Fund

1995

14 cities meet, and Florida League of Municipalities forms

Jeannie Garner becomes Executive Director Field Advocacy and Federal Affairs Department

E. Harris Drew Municipal Official of the Year Award and Florida Municipal SelfInsurers Fund (now Florida Municipal Insurance Trust)

1951

1922

2020

1984

1977

1928

Raymond C. Sittig Distinguished Public Service Award

Orlando property bought for Public Risk Services Department

Officials discuss association of Florida cities, which totaled about 316

League incorporates and begins in Jacksonville; publishes Florida Municipal Record (now Quality Cities)

2013

2007

Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) Trust

Time capsule to be opened in 2048

Local government curriculum for schools

1968 1921

New logo, brand identity and updated website

Institute for Civic Leadership

2017

Youth Council Community Service Contest

2003

Florida Cities of Excellence Awards program

2011

The Center for Municipal Research and Innovation Florida Local Government Coalition

1991

First League Black President: Sadye Gibbs Martin

2001

New building in Orlando

FLC University

Florida League of Cities

Youth Council Community Service Project Contest

OVERVIEW The community service (volunteer project) contest showcases current or new youth council projects that address a local need. There are many options for your project, such as volunteering with a local nonprofit organization, organizing or participating in the beautification event, working with residents who are in need, or building a community garden or little free library in an area with no access to those amenities. To apply for the contest, in 500 words or less, fully describe your youth council’s community service project, detailing:  What the project entailed.  Why it was needed in your community.  Why your youth council selected the project.  How the project helped the residents you served and impacted the community in general.  Your objectives and if they were met. Describe how.

ON THE COVER: URBANCOW/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

 How the project impacted you and your youth council.

Youth Council Video Competition

Feel free to provide up to five pages of supportive materials (such as photos depicting scenes from the project, newspaper articles, and letters of recommendation).

First Florida City Government Week Florida Municipal Investment Trust

Florida League of Cities 100-Year Timeline FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 5


The Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) provides local governments with a complete Employee Benefits Package. The Employee Benefits Package includes: ∙ Medical ∙ Dental ∙ Vision ∙ Life ∙ Disability ∙ Voluntary Employee Benefits ∙ Section 125 Administration ∙ Flexible Spending Account/ Health Savings Account/Health Reimbursement Arrangement Administration

∙ A Customized Wellness Solution ∙ COBRA Administration ∙ Full Online Eligibility and Enrollment System Contact Lindsey Larson Account Executive llarson@flcities.com 920.606.9716


FROM THE PRESIDENT

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Celebrating the past, we look to the future

T President Phillip Walker Commissioner City of Lakeland

The Florida League of Cities has unveiled its new, comprehensive

his year is a special one for the Florida League of Cities as we celebrate our 100th anniversary. That’s right, 100 years. When the League was established in 1922, there were 316 cities and 1 million residents. Today, the statewide organization advocates for 411 municipalities and more than 21 million residents. (For more on the League’s history, see p. 30, p. 32 and the timeline inserted in this issue.) For its 100th year, the League will celebrate its members and employees with eight months of events culminating with the annual conference in August. (See p. 30 for more on the centennial celebration.) You may have already seen the anniversary logo and revamped League website. Stay tuned throughout the next two issues of Quality Cities for more on this momentous year. As we start our next century, the future is bright for Florida’s cities. A $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress provides a milestone investment in bridges, transit, broadband and more within our cities. (For more on these funds, see p. 44.) The Sunshine State’s tourism is once again increasing as more people begin traveling again. (See tips for making trips go smoothly in 2022 on p. 59.) The final rule was released for the American Rescue Plan Act, which offers support to our communities. (See more information on p. 35.) We are at the midpoint of the 2022 Legislative Session, and we must keep our advocacy momentum going until sine die. (See p. 26 for how to stay involved during session.) One thing that has led us throughout our history is our unified voice. Together, we can advocate on behalf of our residents and for the future of Florida’s cities. Stronger together!

advocacy toolkit for elected officials. The Advo-Kit has sections explaining the importance of Home Rule and examples of

Phillip Walker

legislation that impact your community, as well as information on contacting your legislators, crafting your message and building relationships with legislators. To learn more, see p. 24 and visit flcities.com/toolkit.

100TH ANNIVE RSARY FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 7


QC TODAY WHO | WHERE | WHAT

Have news to share? Send it to kgemmer@flcities.com.

KUDOS

Two Florida City Leaders Named NLC Board Members The National League of Cities (NLC) appointed Leo Longworth, Commissioner for the City of Bartow and Leo Longworth

Joshua Simmons

Florida League of Cities past President, and Joshua Simmons, Vice Mayor for

the City of Coral Springs, to the NLC Board of Directors for a two-year term. NLC’s Board of Directors is an elite group of local leaders across the nation who guide the organization and help shape the future of cities.

SAFETY

Members Earn Perfect Score Three members of the

Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) have received

a score of 100% in the FMIT Safety Excellence Initiative’s safety improvement assessment. The Lakeland Area Mass Transit District was the first to receive a perfect score, followed by the City of Rockledge Fire Department and the City of Belleair Beach. The Safety Excellence Initiative is a voluntary safety accreditation program available to FMIT members that provides participants with the knowledge and tools needed to easily develop and Port St. Lucie’s Healthy implement an effective safety management system. U program promoted at a city park.

RESEARCH

NLC Offers Resources For City Leaders

LOCAL FISCAL RECOVERY FUNDS Playbook

ON THE FRONTLINES OF TODAY’S CITIES:

TRAUMA, CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY GUIDANCE FOR THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT

8 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

GRAPHICS COURTESY OF NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES

The National League of Cities (NLC) has released new resources to educate and assist city leaders. The “Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Playbook” will help local leaders access critical implementation resources from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and NLC to generate the biggest impact for their communities. The full report is available at bit.ly/3oA540H. (For more information on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund within the American Rescue Plan Act, see p. 35 and visit flcities.com/rescueplan.) In light of increasing harassment that local officials have recently faced while in office, NLC released a report that sheds light on the impact felt by local officials and their communities while offering solutions to help keep city leaders safe and communities running. This resource recommends safety measures local leaders can take including securing physical safety, promoting mental health and well-being and improving civil discourse. The full report, “On the Frontlines of Today’s Cities: Trauma, Challenges and Solutions,” is available at bit.ly/3cjZKr7.


TODAY DID YOU KNOW …

Our State Has Multiple Waterfalls? WILSILVER77/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

Many people consider Florida to be a flat state, but the state actually has multiple waterfalls. Here is a sampling:

Camp Branch Conservation Area, White Springs.

Falling Creek Falls, Lake City.

The Disappearing Creek produces rapids between cypress knees after heavy rain. The water flows downhill through a ravine. The water eventually disappears into a large sinkhole. The creek emerges in the Suwanee River.

Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville.

At this geological state park, visitors notice a dramatic temperature change as they climb 132 steps down into a sinkhole. Waterfalls and creeks feed into the collapsed sinkhole that is 120 feet deep. The greenery and wildlife in the sinkhole give the appearance of a small rainforest, and the ecosystem is considered rare. Visitors have been recorded at this National Natural Landmark since the 1880s. Researchers reportedly have found fossil shark teeth and the fossilized remains of extinct land animals in the sinkhole. The Park has interactive displays that explore the unique nature of the area. Falling Creek Falls, Lake City.

Falling Creek Falls is a 10-foot waterfall over limestone. The water flowing out of the waterfall goes under Falling Creek Road and through the ravine before going underground. The area also has a boardwalk trail to the Falls and a historic building. Falling Waters State Park, Chipley.

This state park is known for having the largest waterfall in the state, which measures 74 feet tall. Park staff recommend that you visit after heavy rain for the best experience. The waterfall drops into a cylindrical sinkhole that is 100-feet deep and 20-feet wide. The sinkhole disappears into a hidden cave system. The destination of the water is unknown. Rainbow Springs, Dunnellon.

Humans created these falls. The waterfalls, as well as the phosphate pits, are left over from the mining industry. The area offers multiple water activities. Steinhatchee Falls, Steinhatchee.

Although shallow, this waterfall is known as the widest waterfall in the state. Like many waterfalls in Florida, it’s best seen after heavy rains. The Steinhatchee Falls Loop, which is one-half mile long, provides a view of the Old Bellamy Road just above the falls. The road was a pioneer migrant route in the 1800s and still has wagon ruts. Hikers can also see the wagon path route on the other side of the river. Sources: floridahikes.com, floridastateparks.org, mysuwanneeriver. com, onlyinyourstate.com and tcpalm.com

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MEETING CALENDAR MARCH 11-12 FLC University Leadership Academy I Location TBD Contact Angela Delune MARCH 17-18 Florida Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials Annual Conference Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South Contact Nykierama Cooper MARCH 25-26 Institute for Elected Municipal Officials Sheraton Jacksonville Hotel Contact Angela Delune APRIL 29-30 Institute for Elected Municipal Officials II Location TBD Contact Angela Delune JUNE 1-4 Florida City and County Management Association Annual Conference Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld Contact Carol Russell JUNE 10-11 Institute for Elected Municipal Officials Location TBD Contact Angela Delune JUNE 19-22 Florida Association of City Clerks Summer Conference and Academy Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld Contact Rachel Embleton JUNE 25-29 Florida Government Finance Officers Association Annual Conference Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando Contact Jill Walker JULY 25-28, 2022 Florida Local Government Information Systems Association Annual Conference Diplomat Beach Resort, Hollywood Contact Becky Brennan JULY 28-30, 2022 Florida Municipal Attorneys Association Annual Seminar Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, Bonita Springs Contact Lisa Dove AUGUST 11-13, 2022 Florida League of Cities Annual Conference Diplomat Beach Resort, Hollywood Contact Melanie Howe

flcities.com/education-and-

GO TO: events/calendar-of-events or call

850.222.9684 for more information. FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 9


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TODAY VETERANS

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF SANFORD

Sarasota Becomes Hidden Heroes City

An aerial photo of a portion of Sanford’s 5-mile RiverWalk.

WALKWAY

Sanford RiverWalk Opens The City of Sanford opened the Sanford RiverWalk, a 5-mile walkway that connects the City and other communities to the 250-mile Coast-to-Coast trail from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic. “The completion of the Sanford RiverWalk is the culmination of decades of work starting with a vision laid out by former Mayor Bettye Smith in the 1980s,” said Mayor Art Woodruff.

The City of Sarasota recently joined the cities of Dunedin, Gainesville, Jacksonville, St. Petersburg and Winter Springs to become the sixth Hidden Heroes City in Florida. As part of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s network of communities, they have committed to increasing awareness and support for military caregivers and the essential role they play in caring for Sarasota’s veterans and military members. Learn more about how other Florida cities also support local heroes and their families in the 2021 second quarter issue of Quality Cities magazine at bit.ly/30gZmrj.

ENGAGEMENT

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF CITY OF NORTH MIAMI

North Miami Launches Project To Keep Community Engaged The City of North Miami launched a community education and engagement initiative led by City Clerk Vanessa Joseph aimed at helping children and their families learn about the City. As part of the “In the Community with Madam Clerk” initiative, the City published “Around the City with Madam Clerk,” a book filled with coloring pages and activities for families to enjoy as they learn about the City and how they can get involved. ASSISTANCE

The Village of Wellington, in partnership with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and a local bike shop, created the Bicycle

Assistance Program to help provide refurbished bicycles to residents without transportation. The program uses lost, stolen or never claimed bicycles from the Sheriff’s Office or donated bikes from the community and then takes them to Wheels of Wellington, where they are restored. (Read more on qualitycities.com at bit.ly/31R9M15.) Tallahassee Police Department’s Tactical Apprehension and Control Team. PHOTO COURTESY OF VILLAGE OF WELLINGTON

KUDOS

Tallahassee Police Department Ranks in International Competition

Village of Wellington and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office representatives provide bikes and helmets to local children.

10 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

The Tallahassee Police Department’s Tactical Apprehension and Control (TAC) Team placed fourth in the 2021 International SWAT Roundup competition in Orlando. The team competed against more than 40 teams from around the world in the weeklong competition of events designed to mirror real life. Tallahassee’s TAC team is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF TALLAHASSEE

Bike Program Helps Wellington Build Community Bonds


TODAY

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Obituaries Former Miami Commissioner and FLC past President J.L. Plummer

Former Miami Commissioner J.L. Plummer died December 16 at age 85. Plummer, a sixth-generation Floridian, was the City of Miami’s longest-serving Commissioner. His lifelong dedication to public service began in 1966 on the Planning and Zoning Board. Plummer was appointed to the City Commission in 1970 and elected Vice Mayor later that year. In 1971, he was elected to his first full four-year term on the City Commission and served until 1999. He proudly carried the title of “Commissioner Emeritus.” Plummer served as President of the Florida League of Cities from 1978-1979. During his presidency, the League laid the groundwork for the Florida Municipal Liability Self-Insurers Program. Plummer served on the FLC Board of Directors until 1999, and he was also a past President of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities. In addition to his public service, Plummer was a mortician who, at 21 years old, became the youngest person in Florida to receive a funeral director’s license. Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell said, “For over 30 years, City Commissioner J.L. Plummer was a faithful public servant. He maintained a fierce commitment and dedication to municipal government throughout his life, as evidenced by his attendance at a Miami City Commission meeting one month before his passing. The City of Miami honors his service.”

Former Boca Raton Council Member William (Bill) Hager

Former Boca Raton Council Member William (Bill) Hager died October 13 at

age 74. He served on the Boca Raton City Council from 2002-2009 and as Deputy Mayor from 2004-2005. Hager served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2010-2018. Prior to his service, Hager worked as a teacher, an expert trial witness and a lawyer. “Bill Hager was a deep and brilliant thinker and longtime public servant in many roles,” said Mayor Scott Singer. “I was honored to work with him often when he was our State Representative, and personally, he shared a lot of great advice from his time on the City Council that often rings true for me today. He leaves a legacy of service, and our community will miss him.”

Leesburg City Attorney Fred Morrison

Leesburg City Attorney Fred Morrison

died December 4 at age 67. He was a native of Leesburg and served as City Attorney for more than 30 years. Morrison was also a Senior Partner at McLin Burnsed, where he practiced law for 43 years after starting as a summer clerk. “Fred served the City of Leesburg with great distinction,” said City Manager Al Minner. “He was an enormous part of our organization and extremely well respected in the legal community, as well as throughout the Lake County region. In my time in municipal government, I have never worked with a more genuine, eloquent and dignified attorney. Fred’s passing is an enormous loss, and he will truly be missed.”

Former Windermere Mayor Robert James Pleus Jr.

Former Windermere Mayor Robert James Pleus Jr. died December 14 at

age 85. Pleus served on the Town Council from 1972-1974, as Mayor for six years and as Town Attorney for several years. He was also President of the Tri-County League of Cities in 1992. In 2000, Pleus was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal, where he served as Chief Judge before his retirement and Senior Judge following his retirement. Pleus was also ordained a Deacon at Holy Family Catholic Church in 2000. Past Mayor Gary Bruhn said, “Mayor Pleus served not only Central Florida and the Town of Windermere, but he represented all of the community with honor and distinction from being not only an elected official but also an appellate judge.”

Former Lake Alfred City Commissioner Lowell K. Schmidt

Former Lake Alfred City Commissioner Lowell K. Schmidt died Decem-

ber 1 at age 80. Schmidt served as City Commissioner from 2001-2011, became Vice Mayor in 2008 and served as Mayor in 2009. Schmidt previously worked for the University of Florida Department of Agricultural Research and Education Center in the Department of Citrus lab researching citrus diseases. Always interested in the betterment of the City of Lake Alfred, he cared deeply about the citizens and the city staff. Mayor Nancy Daley said, “Lowell Schmidt was a true community advocate, and he will be sorely missed.” FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 11


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FEATURE

FLC 30+ Year Staff.

FLC Staff Retreat.

KUDOS

FLC Staff Celebrates

League offices hold annual staff retreat, recognize employees

T

he Orlando and Tallahassee offices of the Florida League of Cities (FLC) came together for their 27th annual staff retreat. The event included team-building exercises, a speech by President Phillip Walker and a celebration of staff milestones and awards.

Executive Director/CEO Jeannie Garner presented Jeff Branch , Senior Legislative Advocate in Legislative Affairs, with the Virginea “Ginger” Eaton Employee of the Year award. Branch was

recognized for his tremendous character, leadership, integrity, excellence and service. Runners-up for Employee of the Year were Melissa Solis, Trust Services Manager in Trust Services, and Lynn Tipton, Director, FLC University in Communication and Education. The FLC also recognized the following employees for their years of service: FIVE YEAR TJ Baker, Claims Adjuster – Lost Time, Workers’ Compensation David Banciella, Litigation Specialist, Property and Liability Shwanda Barnette, Ambassador, Membership Relations Marimar Blazejewski, Claims Supervisor, Workers’ Compensation Mona Davis, Accountant I, Accounting Tim Donovan, Investigator/Analyst – Special Investigation Unit, Legal Mary Edenfield, Legislative Administrator, Legislative Affairs 12 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

Laura Garber, Human Resource Officer, Executive Alicia Hollinger, Rater, Finance Bill Horvath, Nurse Case Manager, Workers’ Compensation Jonathan Jaramillo, Risk and Safety Consultant, Risk and Safety Management Jeremy Langley, Account Executive, Financial Services Donna Lea, Claims Adjuster – Lost Time, Workers’ Compensation Binh Nguyen, Director, Finance and Underwriting, Finance Karen Pastula, Financial Services Assistant, Financial Services Aaron Prideaux, Claims Supervisor, Property and Liability Ravi Kumar Ravi, Data Warehouse Architect, Technology Services Chaz Smith, Risk and Safety Consultant, Risk and Safety Management Chris Smith, Claims Manager, Property and Liability Selina Smith, Communication and Education Assistant, Communication and Education Tara Taggart, Legislative Advocate, Legislative Affairs

10 YEAR Molly Button, Accountant II, Accounting Aaron Carper, Director, Group Health, Health Lisa Dove, Legal Assistant, Legal

Alonzo Hatchette, Litigation Specialist, Property and Liability Amber Hughes, Senior Legislative Advocate, Legislative Affairs Medley Johnson, Underwriter, Finance Jill McFadden, Receptionist – Orlando, Insurance – Executive Tara McMillan, SIU Coordinator – Special Investigation Unit, Legal

15 YEAR Karen Coad, Workers’ Compensation Department Assistant, Workers’ Compensation Liz Melendez, Business Analyst II, Technology Services Dorothy Rollins, Trust Services Administrator, Trust Services

20 YEAR Chris Crumbaker, Software Development Manager, Technology Services Eric Hartwell, Deputy General Counsel/ Insurance Counsel, Legal Sharon Naughton, Underwriter, Finance Matt Norris, Claims Supervisor, Workers’ Compensation Charlene Sanders, Claims Adjuster – Medical Only, Workers’ Compensation Paul Shamoun, Director, Financial Services Mike Taylor, Associate Director, Technology Services – Infrastructure, Technology Services


Anita Wick, Risk and Safety Specialist, Risk and Safety Management

25 YEAR Becky Brennan, Technology Services Assistant, Technology Services Becky Lesher, Special District Rating Specialist, Finance Jan Newton, Association Services Coordinator, Florida Redevelopment Association, Association Services

30 YEAR Lynn Tipton, Director, FLC University, Communication and Education

The Florida League of Cities congratulates the Florida Association of City Clerks on its

50TH ANNIVERSARY For more information, please visit floridaclerks.org.

From top: Florida League of Cities Executive Director/CEO Jeannie Garner presents the Employee of the Year award to Jeff Branch and runners-up Melissa Solis and Lynn Tipton. FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 13


QC

CITY SPOTLIGHT Turkey Creek Pavilion.

The “Enjoy Niceville” sign depicted with mullet celebrates Niceville’s fishing heritage.

NATURE

Small City, Immense Amenities Niceville’s recreational area appeals to residents and visitors alike by William Prince City of Niceville

T NICEVILLE Okaloosa County Pop. 14,976

he City of Niceville has grown from a small fishing village into one of the most desirable places to live, work and raise a family in the state due to outstanding schools, an abundance of recreation opportunities, great neighborhoods and proximity to the beautiful beaches of the Emerald Coast. Countless military members have chosen to retire to Niceville after falling in love with the area while stationed at nearby Eglin Air Force Base, Duke Field or Hurlburt Field. When founded in the late 1860s, the Community of Boggy was named for its location on Boggy Bayou in Okaloosa County. In 1910, the Community took on a new identity when it was renamed the City of Niceville and then incorporated in 1938. Niceville is bordered by Choctawhatchee Bay to the south and the Eglin Reservation to the north. This location among natural surroundings has made outdoor recreation a staple in the City. One of Niceville’s popular recreational attractions is Turkey Creek Nature Trail consisting of more than 100 acres of conservation land. Residents and visitors can exercise while enjoying the outdoors and nature’s beauty along the scenic, mile-long boardwalk. The pavilion is a prime location for gatherings, and the swimming areas are perfect for cooling off on summer days. Wildlife is plentiful, and people of all ages can be seen canoeing, kayaking and tubing down the creek. There is something for everyone at Turkey Creek, but how did this all come to be? For decades, Turkey Creek naturally supported recreation such as swimming, fishing and

14 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY OF NICEVILLE

Tubing at Turkey Creek.


CITY SPOTLIGHT

William Prince is the Reference Librarian at the Niceville Public Library. QC

Path of Memories entrance.

Path of Memories on Turkey Creek Boardwalk.

Civilian Conservative Corps statue.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY OF NICEVILLE

hunting. The spring-fed creek begins north of Niceville on the Eglin Reservation and flows through nearly two miles of the City limits to the mouth of Boggy Bayou. Following a donation of 17 acres of land by former County Commissioner Willie Williams in the 1980s, the City purchased property at the south end of Turkey Creek in 1993. Over the next two years, the City used city revenue and state grant funds to establish Turkey Creek Park. The area now referred to as Turkey Creek South features a pavilion, restrooms, parking and access to a boardwalk. Over several years, the City extended the elevated boardwalk more than 6,100 feet north toward College Boulevard. A 1994 grant allowed the City to acquire a 7-acre tract on Turkey Creek at College Boulevard, known as Turkey Creek North. This area includes picnic areas, boardwalk access to the creek and a canoe/kayak launch. In 2016, construction was completed on a 350-foot boardwalk connection to link the north and south parks. In recent years the City acquired over 70 acres of land on the north side of College Boulevard through state and local funds. This area is intended to remain in its natural state and allow for primitive camping and picnicking. Branching off of the main boardwalk is a special feature of Turkey Creek, the Path of Memories. The City of Niceville, working with a nonprofit organization, The Compassionate Friends, created this special place for parents who have suffered the loss of a child. This tranquil space for reflection and remembrance includes a sitting area and a pergola adorned with memorial plaques engraved with names of those sons and daughters gone too soon. A recent addition to Turkey Creek pays homage to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). This emergency relief agency, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early years of the Great Depression, provided jobs for more than three million men at camps across the country. Niceville was home to Florida’s first CCC camp and one of the first in the United States. CCC Worker Statue #77 stands near the Turkey Creek Pavilion as a lasting tribute to the workers’ impact on the community between 1933 and 1942. Lannie Corbin has been Niceville’s City Manager for over 50 years and has been a driving force in the City’s evolution. He continues to look toward the future and strives to preserve the park’s wetlands while giving visitors a better appreciation and understanding of the local environment. A prime example is the proposed renovation of a vacant brick house into a welcome and information center that can host classes on the flora and fauna of Turkey Creek and Boggy Bayou and the importance of conservation. A potential expansion project in the works for Turkey Creek South includes a new park across the street with winding paths, a pond with bird nesting islands, an environmental education pavilion and more picnic areas. These proposed enhancements, along with the amenities added throughout the years, ensure Turkey Creek will provide joy to Niceville and its guests for generations to come.

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CITY SPOTLIGHT

The “Proud Heritage” 3D heart sculpture by artist Dave Hendrickson at City Hall.

The sculpture by Dade City resident Karen Menard depicts a monarch butterfly.

EXHIBITS

City Puts Its Heart in Art Sculptures and hay bales placed throughout Dade City by Angie Guy City of Dade City

DADE CITY Pasco County Pop. 7,402

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he City of Dade City uses outdoor public art displays to increase interest in downtown and throughout the area by residents and visitors alike. The Dade City Center for the Arts (DCCA) partnered with the City to facilitate an outdoor, permanent public art exhibit that brought large heart sculptures to nearly a dozen city-owned properties downtown. The 3D metal sculptures, measuring approximately 36 inches by 36 inches by 8 inches, are attached to 6-foot steel posts secured to the ground. Artwork patterns differ on each structure. The entire project was facilitated by DCCA and local artist and gallery owner Russ Taylor. DCCA’s Board of Directors enlisted the help of professionals and youth groups to submit ideas and designs. The Board selected artists to paint the myriad sculptures. Also, the art organization partnered with Pasco-Hernando State College’s welding

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY OF DADE CITY

The “Old Glory” sculpture by artist and Florida native Mark Hannah of Hannah Design Artworks.


CITY SPOTLIGHT

A painted hay bale by artists Delaney Reese, Cassidy Reese, Patty Reese and Allissa Ross.

A hay bale by artists Jasmine and Curtis Wright of Treehouse Mercantile, part of the Hay Bale Public Art Project.

Artist Ryah Taggerty painted a pumpkin on a hay bale as part of the Hay Bale Public Art Project.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DADE CITY CENTER FOR THE ARTS

program to fabricate metal structures designed to withstand inclement weather and other conditions. A local car dealer assisted with the priming and coating of the hearts before installation. A local construction company assisted with the final installation. The initiative is meant to make the downtown area even more attractive and provide a way to use public artwork as a photo opportunity and marketing tool. The premise is that the art displays will encourage residents and visitors to stroll throughout the City. More frills included installing QR codes on each sculpture. The codes link to information about a particular artist or the meaning of the artwork as well as locations of city landmarks. The entire concept is like outdoor art events in other cities that bring together artists’ creativity with a sculptural icon that relates to the city. In Dade City’s case, its official seal has a heart shape surrounded by kumquats in its center. City leaders expressed enthusiasm and support for the public art project. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Shive said, “I think art’s a great thing. It’s a great motivator for the young people. I think it’s going to be great to have art in Dade City.” Mayor Camille Hernandez added, “We look forward to seeing it come to fruition and just adding that creative touch and some excitement for the town.” Dade City staffers are likewise very supportive of the installation of public art objects, said Melanie Romagnoli, the City’s Community and Economic Development Director. Romagnoli said that “for the locations within our CRA [Community Redevelopment Agency] as well as in our comprehensive plan for the entire city, public art is encouraged as part of an attraction, as a destination for people to come visit.” The DCCA has additional community art projects. The Second Annual Hay Bale Public Art Project 2021 was completed last fall. Six large hay bales were placed on cityowned properties throughout the City and painted by local artists. Thanks to area businesses and organizations, the public art project was an enormous success. DCCA is working on its next project. The organization will facilitate a wall mural on the exterior of a building that is visible from the Hardy Trail. A local artist is working on a design that will be approved by the DCCA Board. The City will help coordinate the painting of the wall so that businesses and walkers can continue as usual, as it is in the heart of downtown. Dade City will promote health and wellness by connecting the mural to its popular trail through the City. The project will encourage people to walk the trail. Like the heart sculptures, the DCCA is arranging for the funding and labor for the mural, which is pending City approval. The mural is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.

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Angie Guy is the City Clerk for the City of Dade City. Editor’s note: Information in this article originally appeared in The Laker/Lutz News on May 25, 2021. QC FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 17


CITY SPOTLIGHT

Town Square’s new splashpad.

REDEVELOPMENT

Downtown Enhanced, History Preserved Crystal River revitalizes downtown with Town Square by Leslie Bollin City of Crystal River

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he City of Crystal River is a small coastal town known mostly for the West Indian Manatee, the large mammals that call it home every winter. Tucked away, it is home to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, which houses hundreds of manatees every winter in Kings Bay and includes the Three Sisters Springs. Crystal River is the only place in the United States where you can swim with and interact with nature’s gentle giants. This small city welcomes approximately 500,000 visitors per year while retaining its quaint, small-town feel. City officials have looked for ways to

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CRYSTAL RIVER Citrus County Pop. 3,190

enhance the City for residents and the increasing numbers of visitors. Mayor Joe Meek, who was born and raised in Crystal River, had the vision to create a “town center,” a gathering place that would be the hub of activity downtown.

After his election in 2019, he set his eyes on a property in the center of downtown that had remained vacant for many years. With the guidance of City Manager Ken Frink , another longtime local, the City Council set out to make his vision a reality. Later that year, construction began on the new Town Square in the heart of downtown, and the ribbon was cut in July 2020. Meek said, “This project, in the most visible part of our town, highlighted that our city was serious about investment and would mark the beginning of a dedicated and focused strategy of redeveloping our city.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITRUS COUNTY CHRONICLE

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CITY SPOTLIGHT Preserving Crystal River’s history played a prominent role in shaping the downtown area. The City’s inactive water tower, an identifying marker for Crystal River, was almost taken down in 2000 until a group of residents advocated for its preservation and enhancement. Instead, it received a fresh coat of paint with the City seal painted in the center. Little did residents know at the time how saving this one feature would play into shaping downtown. The Crystal River Pump House, which brought the first water system to the community in 1926, is directly beneath the water tower. It is one of very few Spanish Revival buildings in Citrus County and was reputedly designed by Henry Taylor, the same architect who designed the Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg. In 2015, Crystal River became a Main Street community, and the Main Street-designated area came to life with businesses and activities. The city-owned Pump House was almost demolished, but Main Street saw the historical building as one worth saving. The property was

fully restored in 2019 with a matching grant from the State Division of Historic Preservation and several community partners. As the City center began to take shape around this building, City officials knew it would play an important role in the future of this downtown space. The blank cream wall of the building next to Town Square provided a blank canvas to serve as a focal point for the Town Square and the row of businesses on South Citrus Avenue. Inspired by a mural on another downtown building, Crystal River Main Street enlisted local artist William Mickey to paint their logo in conjunction with a City-inspired logo to span the remaining length of the building. Several other murals soon followed within the Main Street district. TOWN SQUARE PHASE II

While the Town Square development was underway, City staff submitted a legislative line-item funding request for the “Crystal River Linear Park” project to add a water feature to the area. Inspired by cities such as Winter Garden, the plan would connect a splashpad/water feature,

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF CRYSTAL RIVER

The City’s water tower overlooks the splash pad in front of the Crystal River Pump House.

a newly developed Town Square, the newly restored historic Pump House, an event space positioned beneath the City water tower and the previously developed Crosstown Trail multiuse path. The new splash pad feature opened to the public in November 2021. The project included a water feature with LED lights meant to be used as a play feature during the day and a water feature at night. It also included a brick entry to the Pump House, green lawn space and a large concrete pad poured beneath the water tower to expand the outdoor space. Christmas on the Square was held in December 2021. In conjunction with Crystal River Main Street and the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce , the City Events and Marketing Department brought in synthetic ice skating for residents and visitors to enjoy over three days. This event was the culmination of the completion of Town Square and displayed beautifully how the park is now the center of downtown Crystal River. Leslie Bollin is the Events and Marketing Director for the City of Crystal River. QC

Aerial view of Town Square.

Crystal River Town Square Project Awarded The City of Crystal River and Crystal River Main Street were recognized with the 2021 Florida Main Street Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Public Improvement administered by the Division of Historical Resources under the Florida Department of State. Crystal River Main Street was also given the merit award for Outstanding Sign/Display for the Crystal River Town Square mural project. These awards recognized and distinguished the work of many leaders and community organizations investing in the future of the City.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF NICK HOLMES

DOWNTOWN’S HISTORY AND ART

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COMMENTARY

SCOTT PAINE. “CREATING AND MAINTAINING A CULTURE OF ETHICS” (SURVEY RESULTS). 2021.

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Audience poll results from a recent webinar presented by Scott Paine.

PRIORITIES

Valuing Family Through Service

Nearly universal valuing of family has important and surprising implications by Scott Paine Florida League of Cities

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’ve written about the importance of values as the foundation of ethics. Clarity about what we value helps us understand why a decision is important and what a good decision requires of us. If we don’t know what truly matters, we will find it hard to distinguish between a decision that makes us feel good and one that is good. When I present webinars where I poll audiences about their values, I can count on a degree of consistency in the results. Honesty always appears in the list and is usually among the first values to be mentioned. Honesty, it turns out, comes very close to being a universal value. I don’t mean that everyone is honest, of course. I mean that not only does every audience mention it, but there is broad-based agreement, when I highlight it, that it is something we should value. In fact, there’s substantial historical evidence that nearly every human society has considered honesty, at least in some form, to be a virtue. Another value that comes up almost as consistently is family.

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This one also has the feel of universality to it. The historical record makes clear that human beings have valued family (in some form) in essentially every condition and time. While we may know someone who does not value their own family (sometimes for readily apparent reasons), not to value the unique bond between people that is captured in a family would seem, to many of us, to be unhealthy. Our valuing of family manifests itself in a variety of ways. The holiday season through which we recently passed always is freighted with memories and messages that highlight family. Whether it’s a special meal or a special celebration, most of us naturally attach family to the festivities, either as central to those events or to our memories of them. To value family means to devote time to one’s family. It also means devoting resources composed of financial assets or personal skill sets. It means that family is never far from our thoughts and usually factored into our decisions. And it means


COMMENTARY

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priorities. This situation that it is possible to feel or doesn’t have to be as overt be told that one does not as rigging a contract for a value family enough and to family member’s business find it necessary to defend or securing a job for them our choices against such a in exchange for our supcharge or humbly apoloport on some other matgize for our failures. ter. It can manifest in our This nearly universal – Alice Walker reluctance to do the right valuing of family has imthing. portant and, to some exDoing the right thing for the public as a whole can anger some tent, surprising implications for public servants. The reason is members of the public. This situation can lead those individuals that upholding public trust often requires us to set aside or at to become abusive, whether in statements to the mainstream least substantially undervalue our own families. press, on social media or even at places of employment, education Consider some of the ways public service can conflict with or recreation. Especially in this era in which the public square our own family’s needs: has become full of vitriol, our spouses, our children and even ▸ For most elected municipal officials, the time and effort distant relatives can suffer, whether by having to witness the put into public service do not produce the kind of financial sharp-tongued abuse we suffer or by becoming targets for that reward for our families that similar efforts would from a abuse themselves. demanding job. To a lesser extent, this statement also is Which might lead one to wonder, if we are willing to subject true of most public employees at any level. Many studies our families to all of this, how much do we really care about our indicate that the wages/salaries of public employees lag families? behind comparable positions in the private sector, although My personal answer to this question comes, perhaps not sursometimes the benefits are better. prisingly, from my family. ▸ Beyond questions of financial return for time spent, there’s What they have told me, on more than one occasion, helps also the reality for many elected municipal officials that me understand what it means to truly value family. It’s not just duty can call at any time of the day or night. Many of us have about health, wealth and happiness for those I love. I’ve come to stories about being approached (or accosted) by members understand that valuing family means valuing a sense of shared of the public with concerns or complaints in grocery store identity and purpose. It turns out that, for many of us, service aisles, after religious services and even at a child’s sports (including public service) is part of how we declare that shared event, performance or birthday party. Such injections of identity. It’s part of how we define who we are individually and, the public’s business into our family time are, at best, an by association, as a family. interruption and, at worst, a serious damper on our family Interestingly, that’s another value that often appears in my members’ ability to enjoy our company. polls: service. ▸ In less frequent and perhaps more subtle ways, public serIf service lies at the heart of our sense of family, not just service vice also forces us to place less emphasis on the well-being to family, but service more broadly, then acts of service, whether of our own families. Among these are the obstacles to adgoing the extra mile for a customer or the extra hours for the vancing the careers of spouses, children and other relatives. community, uphold our family every bit as much as time spent In the private sector, if it’s my business (or I’m on good around a bonfire or a holiday table. They do so by making those terms with the boss), I may be able to secure that summer small contributions to the community’s quality of life that benjob, internship or something more permanent in the way efit our families as they benefit others. More importantly, they of employment for a member of my family. If I hold public imprint our families with a virtue that can guide our personal office, that action is less of an option. Both the law and conchoices and warm our memories of loved ones who served. cerns about the appearance of impropriety prevent helping members of our family advance their careers, whether in the government or the local private economy. Scott C. Paine, Ph.D., is Director of Leader-

My parents taught me service – not

by saying, but by doing. That was my culture, the culture of my family.

What this situation means for public servants is that, contrary to most settings, we have an obligation to be inconsistent in how we make important decisions privately versus publicly. In our private lives, family can top the list of our priorities. In our public service, we cannot give it such weight. Crafting the details of an ordinance to benefit our family is not permissible either in law or best practice. Crafting that ordinance to benefit the public must come first and, in fact, must be our exclusive concern. As a theoretical matter, I think we all understand the priority of the public as public servants. But when real-world impacts on our family arise, it can be easy to fall back on our personal

ship Development and Education for FLC University. He previously worked at the University of Tampa as Associate Professor of Communication and Government and served for eight years on Tampa’s City Council. He can be contacted at spaine@ flcities.com. QC

GO TO:

drscottpaine.com to read Scott Paine's regular blog.

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DELIVERS

Your City’s National Resource and Advocate The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages representing more than 200 million people across the country. For over 90 years we have been delivering exclusive support and resources for local leaders and municipal staff at the national level, serving as an advocate for communities large and small.

HOW CAN NLC DELIVER FOR YOUR CITY? Education + Training

Hands-On Assistance

Community Discounts

Advocacy Support

Peer Networking

National Leadership

LEARN MORE at nlc.org/stateleague 22 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022


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SPOTLIGHT EMPLOYEE PROFILE

Alonzo Hatchette: A Steadfast Coach and Colleague

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hen it comes to customer service, Litigation Specialist Alonzo Hatchette always steps up. Alonzo, who has been at the Florida League of Cities (FLC) for more than 10 years, investigates, evaluates and resolves litigated claims upon review of coverage. As a Litigation Specialist, Alonzo often travels across the state to attend claims mediations with League members to ensure that proper records, investigations, legal procedures and closings are completed according to the approved claim policies and procedures. Alonzo’s co-workers describe him as dependable, serving as backup for the department when needed. “He’s a road warrior, someone I know will step up and cover off-campus mediations all over the state as needed,” said Eric Hartwell, Deputy General Counsel/Insurance Counsel. In his role in the Property and Liability Department, Alonzo’s job requires him to build strong relationships with League members to resolve complex claims/coverage issues that are presented to them. Fellow Litigation Specialist Lavi Niv, who has worked alongside Alonzo for nine years, said, “Alonzo commands the respect of his peers, professional associates and all those he works with. He embodies professionalism and represents the League well!” Claims Supervisor Donna Cruz echoed this sentiment and described Alonzo as reliable and proficient. “Alonzo has been a great support system for me,” said Donna. “We can communicate freely and discuss the pending legal issues to develop the best resolution.” Even when they disagree on legal issues, Donna reminisces how they always laugh it out in the end. Alonzo’s laser focus on details can result in the discovery of unusual claim scenarios that require Eric to reach for his “thinking cap.” No matter how complex or serious the conversation about the issue might be, it always ends pleasantly, said Eric. “By the end of every conversation with Alonzo, you’ve likely had a good laugh or two because he usually travels with a little levity in his back pocket.” When Alonzo isn’t assisting his FLC co-workers and League members, you can find him in a gym somewhere in the state or spending time with his three teenage children. “When I’m not being a dad, I am normally coaching, training or helping guide my children trying to reach their goals on and off the courts,” said Alonzo. The determination and dedication that Alonzo gives to his job are also evident when it comes to his kids, says Eric, who describes Alonzo as a “steadfast head coach” and “hype-man-in-chief” for his children. Eric said, “The League is better because of Alonzo’s presence, and he is an asset to the operation.” QC

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FEATURE

PHOTO COURTESY OF BRITTNI JOHNSEN

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FLORIDA LEAGUE OF CITIES

The Advo-Kit

President Walker announces advocacy toolkit to aid municipal officials by Kelli Gemmer Florida League of Cities

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or 100 years, the Florida League of Cities (FLC) has advocated for local self-government. The idea that Florida’s communities should be governed by the people who live in them is the essence of Home Rule. Put simply, local voices making local choices. Everyone plays an important role in protecting Home Rule, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why the League created The Advo-Kit, an advocacy toolkit for municipal officials. This interactive digital resource provides new and experienced elected officials with the materials to take their advocacy efforts to the next level. The Advo-Kit contains engaging videos, essential tips, relevant examples and comprehensive guides on topics such as lobbying, media relations and legislative procedures. Officials new to office can view information on the importance of Home Rule (particularly local decision-making authority), building relationships with legislators, contacting their legislators and crafting their message, as well as examples of legislation that impact their community. The toolkit also includes a glossary of key legislative terms and definitions.

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For those officials already experienced in advocacy, The Advo-Kit offers resources such as tips for working with the media to spread a city’s message and suggestions on media outlets to follow. It also includes reminders on how to properly testify in front of legislative committees and keys to lobbying in person, virtually or via email. “Your efforts as elected officials are vital to the success of the League’s Legislative Affairs team,” said FLC President Phillip Walker at the 2021 Legislative Conference, where he announced The Advo-Kit. “Each year, with your dedication and support, we protect our cities from numerous preemptions and unfunded mandates. Together with your help and The Advo-Kit aiding our advocacy efforts, we will be stronger and more impactful.” Kelli Gemmer is the Assistant Editor for the Florida League of Cities. QC


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The Advo-Kit Online Whether a newly elected or long-serving official, The Advo-Kit from the Florida League of Cities has several resources to help every local leader make their advocacy even more successful. View The Advo-Kit online at flcities.com/toolkit.

Source: flcities.com/toolkit

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training Florida League of Cities (FLC) President Phillip Walker is dedicated to expanding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts for cities during his one-year term as President. As part of this effort, FLC University continues to provide education and training on DEI to city leaders. “FLC University is a tremendous resource offered by the League to its members,” said Walker. “These trainings equip municipal staff and elected leaders with the tools to broaden their perspectives and better understand the diverse cities they serve.” To help place your city at the forefront of educating on DEI, contact Christen Barton at cbarton@flcities.com for available trainings and dates.

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LEGISLATIVE

SESSION

Keep Momentum Going Stay involved and up to date on advocacy until sine die by Casey Cook Florida League of Cities

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he excitement and flurry of activity that precede every legislative session have passed, and we’ve reached the midpoint of the 2022 Legislative Session. While the advocacy efforts leading up to and during the first part of the session were important, it is critical that everyone stays tuned into changes to bills as they move through committees and onto the floor for debate. Amendments added at this time give us a significantly shorter time to respond, so continuous engagement by city representatives is necessary. Be ready to contact your legislators when you receive a Legislative Alert so they know how a bill or amendment will affect your community. (See Contact Your Legislator, at right.) If you can’t reach legislators during the chaotic final weeks of the session, talk with their staff. This approach can be just as effective to make sure they know where you stand. City leaders can also get regular updates via phone. The Florida League of Cities legislative team hosts a weekly call-in every Monday during legislative session at 9:00 a.m. ET. The call-in phone number is 888.585.9008. The conference room number is 301-563-714#. To request a summary email following the callins, contact Mary Edenfield at medenfield@flcities.com. You can also sign up to receive text alerts by texting the keywords Local Voices to 50457. Ideas to boost advocacy efforts are included in The Advo-Kit, a resource produced by the League. A few of the items included are tips on working with the media to spread your message and keys to lobbying in person, virtually or via email. (See article on The Advo-Kit, p. 24, and access the kit at flcities.com/toolkit.) Once we reach sine die, the official end of the legislative session, city leaders should plan to meet with lawmakers to 26 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

discuss how the legislation passed will affect their cities. This year is an election year, so legislators are very attuned to the needs and concerns of their constituencies, which means more opportunities to talk with lawmakers. Together, we can make our voices heard in support of local decision-making. Casey Cook is the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Florida League of Cities. QC

Contact Your Legislator Go to flcities.com. Under the “Advocacy” heading, select “Advocacy.” Under “Become an Advocate,” choose “Contact Your State Legislator” and “Access Tool.” This tool enables city officials to send personalized emails directly to their legislators and legislative committees quickly and efficiently. Cities can use this tool to respond to Florida League of Cities’ Legislative Alerts and let their legislators know how proposed legislation will impact their city.

PAUL BRADBURY/OJO IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

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LOCAL V ICES UNITED Grassroots Advocacy Expands

Residents can advocate for local decision-making! Help us spread the word about Local Voices United by encouraging residents to:

Visit localvoicesunited.com where they can learn about legislative issues, reach their local lawmakers and access advocacy tools and resources

Text Local Voices to 50457 to receive issue updates right to their phone

Like our Facebook page: Facebook.com/LocalVoicesUnited

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FEATURE

UTAH778/ISTOCK/GETTYIMAGESPLUS/GETTY IMAGES

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ADVOCACY

Online Tool Tracks Legislation City of Largo launches easy-to-use resource by Sheryl S. Jackson Florida League of Cities

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ne of the keys to success in getting legislation passed is making sure information about that legislation is accessible and relevant to those who are affected by it. Unfortunately, legislative bills are rarely written in formats that can be quickly read or understood. The City of Largo has tackled the challenge of interpreting and providing access to bills that affect local government operations and residents. It created a website-based legislative tracking tool that is open to employees, elected leaders and the general public. (To access the legislative tracking tool, visit bit. ly/3DuOvZa.) “The City places a high value on the involvement of all city leaders and staff as well as our community in our advocacy efforts,” said C h r i sto p h e r H a w ks , MPA, Intergovernmental Relations Coordinator for the City. “The City has always tracked legislation internally, with elected officials and members of each department reviewing bills that might affect operations.” Staying up to date on the progress 28 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

of proposed legislation guides staff and city leaders in their conversations with legislators, but the task can be cumbersome. In response to feedback from staff and elected officials, Hawks and the City’s website team created a page that lists all bills introduced in the Florida House and Senate that affect local municipalities. The page includes the bill number, sponsor, summary and a link to the full bill. “The City wants to make this a onestop shop for anyone interested in advocacy, specific bills or issues,” said Hawks. The intergovernmental relations team reviews pending bills using internal resources, determines which bills might impact the Largo community and uploads them to the site. “In addition to providing summaries of the bill, there is also a keyword search feature so team members or residents can quickly find bills relating to whatever topic they are looking for.” Expanding access to this information to include community residents is a significant enhancement to involving citizens in grassroots advocacy efforts,

said Hawks. “By putting the information on the website, it is much easier and more convenient for city residents to follow bills and take action when needed.” The tracking tool is promoted in the City’s external newsletter as well as the employee newsletter and social media. “The City of Largo has taken a big step toward ensuring their residents and businesses are more engaged in the statewide issues that can impact their communities,” said Casey Cook, Director of Legislative Affairs, Florida League of Cities. “This tool will help to bring the community and Largo’s city leaders closer by ensuring more of their residents are aware of the issues, what the impacts could be and how they can work together to strengthen their city.” The tracking tool webpage went live in October 2021, and there will be daily updates throughout the 2022 Legislative Session. “Updates will include notes on the progress of bills through committees and the status or outcome of the bill at the end of the session,” said Hawks. The updates will include the latest version of


FEATURE the bill as it moves through committees. Because information and changes will be “fast and furious” during the session, Hawks expects to be busy. The legislative tracking tool’s up-to-date information on legislation will be useful to city officials, staff and residents as they advocate for issues and laws that enhance life in the City of Largo, said Hawks. “A central source of information about legislation that is updated through the session is critical,” he said. There are many cities that provide information on legislative bills to help keep their residents engaged, said Cook. “Any effort by a city to educate and engage their residents and businesses is something the League supports,” he said. “The League encourages other cities, towns and villages to follow the City of Largo and get their communities even more involved in the issues important to them.” Cities can bolster their efforts with tools developed by the League to support grassroots advocacy efforts. Florida residents, businesses and city staff can see weekly updates on individual bills and stay updated during the session by going to bit.ly/3CCEDeY. Individuals can also text Local Voices to 50457 to receive text alerts on important issues. Hawks said, “This project was possible because the Mayor and City Commissioners recognize the importance of advocacy and have been actively involved. The legislative tracking tool is an important resource that supplements our already robust advocacy efforts that include regular contact with our legislative delegation and visits by city representatives to Tallahassee prior to and during the legislative session.” Cook said, “This tracking tool created by the City of Largo will help to educate more Floridians to the actions of the legislature and how decisions made hundreds of miles away can impact every city throughout the state. The League looks forward to continuing to advocate with the City of Largo and Florida’s other 410 cities on those issues impacting municipalities and supporting legislation that strengthens local decision-making.” Sheryl S. Jackson is a Writer/Editor with the Florida League of Cities. QC

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Florida Cities Celebrate

ANNIVERSARIES The Florida League of Cities sends congratulations to the following cities, towns and villages that are celebrating important milestone anniversaries in 2022:

25 years

ISLAMORADA, VILLAGE OF ISLANDS

MARCO ISLAND SUNNY ISLES BEACH

75 years

BAY HARBOR ISLANDS GLEN RIDGE HILLIARD LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA MADEIRA BEACH MANGONIA PARK POMPANO BEACH SHALIMAR VIRGINIA GARDENS WEST MIAMI WILTON MANORS

100 years GROVELAND PAHOKEE

125 years PALMETTO

200 years PENSACOLA

ST. AUGUSTINE

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COVER FEATURE

PHOTO COURTESY OF BONNIE GAUPP

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MILESTONE

Centennial Celebration Florida League of Cities commemorates 100 years

I by Sheryl S. Jackson Florida League of Cities

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n late 1921, Florida’s population was less than a million people. The Overseas Highway to Key West had not been built. Amelia Earhart had not yet taken off from Miami on her round-the-world flight. And Florida cities still didn’t have a unified voice before the Legislature. That same year, a pleasure cruise was held in Tampa Bay. On board were representatives of cities whom Tampa Mayor A.W.D Hall had invited. Hall had an idea: Form an organization of Florida cities that could have a stronger position on issues that impact local governments. He planted a seed and, by the next year, The Florida League of Municipalities was organized. Hall served as the first President of the group, now known as the Florida League of Cities (FLC). Those organizers couldn’t possibly have known the impact that their decision would have on the cities and the people of Florida. Today, Florida cities enjoy Home Rule, access to insurance and financial trusts and an organized way to tell their story to state legislators. The FLC celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with eight months of events. These events recognize the vision of our founders, the commitment of its members and the achievements made possible with cities coming together to speak with one voice about issues that affect residents. As the number of municipalities has grown from 316 in the 1920s to 411 today, the


COVER FEATURE FLC’s membership and services have grown as well. (See more historical highlights, p. 32, and timeline inserted in this issue.) The celebration of the League’s anniversary began in January and continues until Annual Conference in August. Achievements of the League and its members will be recognized in various ways throughout these months. This year, the 100-year banner will appear on all League presentations, lapel pins mailed to all members and anniversarythemed giveaways at all events and conferences. The revamped League website debuted in January and includes the commemorative logo. More importantly, it features simplified navigation throughout the site to provide easy access to information about the League as well as activities and resources. During 2022, members will be recognized in several ways: ▸ Video testimonials collected at events such as Legislative Action Days in February will be used at the 2022 Annual Conference and across social media platforms. ▸ An FLCitiesStrong webinar on April 11 will present the history of Home Rule, preemption and mandates that prove that united voices enhance local government’s ability to provide for communities. ▸ Quality Cities will feature articles that highlight the 100thanniversary events. Fun is also built into plans for 2022. Members and employees should be ready to take a photo with the 3-foot-tall “100” that will pop up at meetings, events and any place that League members and staff might congregate. Other fun activities will include a virtual League trivia contest and Hometown Health wellness initiatives that feature a “100” theme. Members will receive more information about events as they are rolled out. League employees will have the opportunity to celebrate at employee-focused events throughout the year to show appreciation for their part in the 100 years of successful service to members. Employee engagement events along with community service will be held between January through August. The anniversary celebration culminates in August at the Annual Conference. A marquee video during the general session and a formal event with entertainment will round out the year’s anniversary festivities. Also at the Annual Conference, attendees can visit an FLC History Hub booth to reflect on developments from when the League started up to today. Throughout the history of the League, value has been found in collaboration and a unified voice representing municipalities. The events planned throughout 2022 will reflect the philosophy of working together to solve problems, fill gaps in need and advocate for local government. “This is a monumental milestone for our organization, and we wouldn’t be here today without our members and employees,” said Jeannie Garner, FLC Executive Director/CEO. “Through our collective voice, Florida’s cities have made a meaningful impact. Each of us plays a key role in continuing this legacy, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

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Florida League of Cities Celebrates 100 Years ▸ The flcities.com website is revamped. ▸ Lapel pins are being mailed to all members. ▸ Anniversary-themed giveaways will be held at all events and conferences. A 3-foot-tall “100” will be available for photos. ▸ An FLCitiesStrong webinar on April 11 will present the history of Home Rule, preemption and mandates. ▸ A virtual League trivia contest and Hometown Health wellness initiatives will feature a “100” theme. ▸ Video testimonials will be collected for the Annual Conference and social media platforms. ▸ The Annual Conference will include an FLC History Hub booth and a formal event.

League Launches Redesigned Website The Florida League of Cities is excited to share our newly redesigned website. Launched in January to kick off the League’s 100th anniversary, the new userfriendly layout and simplified navigation make it easier than ever to access the information you rely on. (Watch the quick tutorial video on some of the key changes on the updated site at bit.ly/3fdRw5z.) While the pages may look slightly different, the same important documents, resources and activities are still available, including the advocacy, events and municipal job pages. In addition, the new FLC University page is a one-stop shop for all your training and education needs. We encourage you to visit flcities.com to familiarize yourself with these changes.

Sheryl S. Jackson is a Writer/Editor with the Florida League of Cities. QC FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 31


100 YEARS

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100 YEARS

History of the League FLC services and influence grow through the years by Sheryl S. Jackson Florida League of Cities

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efore 1921, Florida cities lobbied the Legislature on an individual and unstructured basis. In 1922, a statewide organization for cities, now the Florida League of Cities (FLC), changed that situation. By 1928, the League incorporated and established its operations in the City of Jacksonville. Later, the League changed its location to the City of St. Petersburg and then returned to Jacksonville. For information on the first 25 years of the League, see p. 34. The organization grew. A new state Constitution adopted in 1969 included several provisions that directly affected cities. It established Home Rule provisions, prohibited double taxation, granted collective bargaining to public employee unions, eliminated municipal courts and imposed a 10 mill cap on ad valorem taxes for cities and counties. In 1971, the League’s headquarters moved to the City of Tallahassee to better lobby the Legislature. The ’70s and ’80s saw the beginning of new services offered to cities beginning with workers’ compensation: ▸ The Florida Municipal Self-Insurers Fund in 1977, now the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) ▸ The Florida Municipal Liability Self-Insurers Program in 1979 ▸ The Florida Health Trust Fund, now the FMIT Group Health Program, in 1980 ▸ The Florida Municipal Pension Trust Fund in 1983 ▸ The Florida Municipal Loan Program, now the Florida Municipal Loan Council (FMLC), in 1985 ▸ The Florida Municipal Property Self-Insurers Program (now part of the FMIT) in 1989. 32 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

The FMLC has issued more than $300 million in tax-exempt securities. This alternate short-term financing allows city and county governments to move forward with municipal projects. The Bond Issue Program can be used for purposes including capital improvements, renovations, fixed-asset additions or refinancing of existing debt. As the number of services provided grew, so did the need for more space. In 1989, property in the City of Orlando was purchased to house the League’s Public Risk Services. In 1990, the League supported a campaign to pass Amendment Three to limit unfunded mandates. The amendment passed. Efforts to raise awareness of the importance of city governments and their service to their communities took a step forward in 1991. State leaders designated the first annual Florida City Government Week. Cities throughout the state continue to use how-to resources provided by the League and develop innovative ideas to showcase city services. This year, 48 cities participated. (See an overview of cities’ activities, p. 48.) In 1992, the League and the John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government established the Institute for Elected Municipal Officials. The Institute was designed to help elected officials meet the requirements of an elected role by providing a thorough orientation to municipal government. Although the primary focus of advocacy and government relations remained state-level lawmaking, federal issues that affected the state increased the need to expand advocacy efforts. The League’s Federal Action Strike Team (FAST) committee was created in 1995 to strengthen federal relations. In 1999, the League established its Special Investigation Unit


100 YEARS (SIU) so that participants of the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust could report suspected insurance fraud. Under the SIU, cities have received training, reduced fraud and reduced costs. To recognize innovation and accomplishments by cities, the League established a city recognition program in 2003 that was later renamed the Florida Municipal Achievement Awards. Throughout the years, members have stepped up to work sideby-side with League staff to protect their cities’ interests as well as their neighbors. Home Rule Heroes is a program that has been recognizing the extraordinary efforts of members since 2009. In 2021, there were 136 Home Rule Heroes, which is the highest number ever awarded. In 2011, the Florida Local Government Coalition , whose members included local government associations, was organized for collaboration, resource-sharing, professional development and education on issues. The Center for Municipal Research and Innovation, now the Center for Municipal Research, was established to serve as the League’s central source of research. Also, the FLC University was created to coordinate training, design training and build training partnerships. With the creation of the Youth Council Video Competition in 2011, leaders of tomorrow were given the opportunity to showcase their ideas, creativity and commitment to their communities. The League continued to recognize achievements and contributions with the creation of The Raymond C. Sittig Distinguished Public Service Award in 2013 to honor a nonelected person who has made significant contributions to the welfare of Florida’s cities. Howard D. Tipton, who served 45 years in local government, was the first recipient, and Harry “Chip” Morrison Jr., Of Counsel for the League, was the recipient in 2019. In 2015, research and training services expanded. MuniMod, the only university-level civic tech competition in Florida to focus solely on solutions for cities, was created. The new FLC University Training Center opened in Orlando. In 2017, the Youth Council Community Service Contest was launched. In 2018, the League celebrated the 50th anniversary of Home Rule. The following year, the League prepared to kick off the next decade with a new logo and brand identity. While a global pandemic in 2020 changed how many organizations operated, the League continued to move forward with many activities. These included publishing a children’s book, “The City That Talks,” launching FLCitiesStrong webinars and establishing the Field Advocacy and Federal Affairs Department to further coordinate and strengthen federal advocacy efforts. Also, for the first time in League history, the annual conference was held virtually. Mike Sittig retired as the longtime Executive Director, and Jeannie Garner became Executive Director/CEO. Under Garner’s leadership, the League continues to expand its services. A new grants assistance program is being offered with eCivis. It provides free grant research, training opportunities, cost savings and assistance with application writing and grant management to all League members. Sheryl S. Jackson is Writer/Editor with the Florida League of Cities. QC

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(From top) The Florida League of Cities had a headquarters on Duval Street in Tallahassee until 1998. The Construction Committee posed for a photo at the 1995 groundbreaking for the new Tallahassee headquarters. P.C. Wu served as League President in 2013-2014. Gil Ziffer, League President in 2017-2018, led a rally celebrating the 50th year of Home Rule. Continued on page 34. FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 33


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100 YEARS

THE FIRST 25 YEARS OF THE LEAGUE by Lynn Tipton Florida League of Cities The Florida League of Municipalities, which was the early name of the Florida League of Cities, was a rather informal association before the 1928 incorporation. The only regular product was a newsletter that would later become the Florida Municipal Record and then Quality Cities magazine. The sale of newsletter advertisements made up the “salary” paid to the first Director/President of the League, A.W.D. Hall. The Director/President kept the operation close to home in the City of St. Petersburg. Phone service was still spotty in many parts of Florida, so all efforts to grow the membership took place with old-fashioned letters through the 1920s and early 1930s. Raymond Sittig, the League’s Executive Director from 1970 to 1995, was told some of the early stories about trying to gain membership through those letters and occasional in-person visits. At that time, Florida didn’t have any interstates. The few federal and state highways had two lanes, at best. Brick roads were the paths in rural areas. It was a lengthy drive from St. Petersburg to the City of Tallahassee on the Coastal Highway (later U.S. 98 and U.S. 19) to attend sessions of the Florida Legislature, held only in even years. The League’s two missions, stated at the time of the 1922 meeting in Tampa, were to “be the united voice for Florida’s municipalities before the Florida Legislature and the U.S. Congress” as well as being a “forum at which all city leaders can gather to share information and knowledge.” The first 25 years for the League occurred under Dillon’s Law, wherein municipalities derived all authority through the Legislature and had to seek permission for any services through special act legislation individually or in municipal groups. Two areas dominated the early League legislative efforts: ▸ Cities with electric utilities and their work to avoid takeovers or preemptive legislation by large power companies ▸ The need for vast infrastructure: large water, wastewater and public works projects all across the state. Tourists largely arrived by train, boat and auto. There were discussions about the thousands of special acts filed each year by local governments to secure

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permission for services. The need for permission caused delays in setting up local water, wastewater, fire, police, public works and other services. As the state entered the Great Depression in the 1920s, one unforeseen event was the dissolution of a dozen cities when residents moved out of state for better job opportunities. Cities were focused on survival between the late 1920s and the end of World War II. When World War II broke out, many cities weren’t interested in a statewide association. The war effort saw many soldiers encamped around the state’s bases, training centers and ports for departure. Many city leaders led drives for metal (pots and pans, cans, old sheds, etc.) and war bonds. Enduring years of rationing also greatly limited what cities could do for their infrastructure. Some states had started experiments with what would later become “Home Rule” as a concept, but as Sittig often said, Florida was busy dealing with mosquitos, air conditioning and roads. Home Rule might have been desired but was not truly discussed by the League until after World War II. Less than half of Florida cities were members of the League until the mid-1950s. As phone service improved, more cities were called about League membership. It slowly started to grow. Rural areas weren’t experiencing municipal incorporations, as farming areas don’t usually benefit from the addition; however, more incorporations occurred around the militar y bases, fishing communities, ports and tourism areas. While the League faced many significant challenges in its early years, the perseverance of its leaders and staff laid the groundwork for the organization to grow in numbers and influence in the years ahead. Today, the League supports Florida’s 411 cities with yearround efforts that include advocacy and education. Lynn Tipton is the Director of FLC University at the Florida League of Cities. QC


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ARPA

Final Rule Released

Treasury clarifies State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

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he Department of the Treasury’s final rule for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) delivers broader flexibility and greater simplicity to the program and responds to feedback received from cities and other stakeholders. The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), a part of the ARPA, delivers $350 billion to state, local and tribal governments to support their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other clarifications and changes, the final rule provides the features below. REPLACING LOST PUBLIC SECTOR REVENUE

The final rule offers a standard allowance for revenue loss of $10 million, allowing cities to select between a standard amount of revenue loss or complete a full revenue loss calculation. Cities that select the standard allowance may use that amount – in many cases their full award – for government services, with streamlined reporting requirements. NONFEDERAL MATCH OR COST-SHARE REQUIREMENTS

Funds available under the “revenue loss” eligible use category generally may be used to meet the nonfederal cost-share or matching requirements of other federal programs. However, SLFRF funds may not be used as the nonfederal share for purposes of a state’s Medicaid program and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). SLFRF funds beyond those available under the revenue loss eligible use category may not be used to meet the nonfederal match or cost-share requirements of other federal programs other than specifically provided for by statute. As an example, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides that SLFRF funds may be used to meet the nonfederal match requirements of authorized Bureau of Reclamation projects and certain broadband deployment projects. Cities should consult the final rule for details if they want to use SLFRF funds as a match for these projects. PUBLIC HEALTH AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS

The final rule clarifies that recipients can use funds for capital expenditures that support an eligible COVID-19 public health or economic response such as certain affordable housing, childcare facilities, schools, hospitals and other projects consistent with the final rule requirements.

Also, the final rule provides for an expanded set of households and communities that are presumed to be “impacted” and “disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic. This change allows cities to respond to a broad set of households and entities without requiring more analysis. Further, the final rule provides a broader set of uses available for communities as part of COVID-19 public health and economic response. Affordable housing, childcare, early learning and services to address learning loss during the pandemic are eligible in all impacted communities. Certain community development and neighborhood revitalization activities are eligible for disproportionately impacted communities. The final rule allows for broader uses to restore and support government employment. These uses include hiring above a recipient’s pre-pandemic baseline, providing funds to employees that experienced pay cuts or furloughs, avoiding layoffs and providing retention incentives. PREMIUM PAY

The final rule delivers more streamlined options to provide premium pay. It broadens the share of eligible workers who can receive premium pay without a written justification while maintaining a focus on lower-income and frontline workers performing essential work. WATER, SEWER AND BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE

The final rule significantly broadens eligible broadband infrastructure investments to address challenges with broadband access, affordability and reliability. It adds additional eligible water and sewer infrastructure investments, including a broader range of lead remediation and stormwater management projects. FINAL RULE EFFECTIVE DATE

The final rule takes effect on April 1, 2022. Until that time, the interim final rule (IFR) remains in effect. Funds used consistently with the IFR while it is in effect comply with the SLFRF program. However, cities can take advantage of the final rule’s flexibilities and simplifications now, even ahead of the effective date. Treasury will not enforce the interim final rule when the use of funds is consistent with the final rule, regardless of when the SLFRF funds were used. Information in this article was distributed by the Treasury Department. To read the final rule, an overview and more, visit Treasury’s website at bit.ly/3Gq7mG1. FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 35

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Access to Employment Law Attorneys at NO COST The Florida Municipal Insurance Trust’s exclusive Employment Law Advisor program offers access to a Florida-based attorney with significant public-sector employment law experience. And, the best part is there is no cost to members of the FMIT with liability coverage for employment practices. We can help with a wide range of employment-related matters, including: Hiring Discipline Promotion/Demotion Transfer Reassignment Layoff Termination ADA Compliance Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, Unfair Treatment and Retaliation

Help is only a phone call away. FMIT members can speak with an attorney Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., by calling 888.368.FMIT (3648).


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Business Watch connects businesses and local government elected officials, leaders and management, and it provides a unique network to share knowledge necessary to both the public and private sectors. Together, Business Watch government and corporate members are a powerful coalition to better our economy, influence public policy and strengthen our communities. Visit businesswatchinc.com to learn more.

Electric Vehicle Case Study Significant economic and sustainability benefits revealed by Dain Giesie Enterprise Fleet Management

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ith the impending transition to electric vehicles (EVs) on the horizon, Enterprise Fleet Management sought to quantify the potential of fleet electrification. In partnership with Geotab, we used our real-world experience to analyze over 91,000 vehicles leased from Enterprise Fleet Management. Data points included depreciation, fuel costs, vehicle costs, maintenance, aftermarket costs, etc. The results of this massive study use hard data rather than assumptions to better understand how the shift to EVs will affect government and business fleets.

The first big takeaway is that there are significant economic and sustainability benefits to moving to EVs. The initial

results showed that of 91,252 vehicles they ran through the study, 13% were good candidates to be electrified right away. The estimated cost savings associated with swapping this portion of the fleet equals $33 million. What’s more, moving the approximately 12,000 vehicles to electric is estimated to reduce tailpipe carbon JANIS ABOLINS/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

dioxide emissions by 194,000 tons over four years. Like many local governments, the fleet in the study was largely made up of medium-duty work vehicles and pickups. The study sought to compare the EV possibilities today with the opportunity changes afforded by the coming wave of commercial EVs and electric pickup trucks. The cost savings, coupled with an increased focus on improving sustainability, makes this study particularly interesting to cities. The second big takeaway is that electric pickup trucks will be a gamechanger. When the study shifted to look

at the opportunity once electric pickups become available, the percentage of the fleet that could be economically transitioned to electric increased to 45%. With almost half the sample fleet electrified, the cost savings is estimated at an impressive $167 million or $4,056.20 per vehicle over a four-year service life. This shift would also equal 1.3 million tons of tailpipe emission reductions

across the entire fleet. In addition, the per-vehicle savings represents a significant opportunity to offset the cost of installing EV infrastructure. Comparing short- and long-term EV possibilities will be a vital component when governments make decisions on their next round of vehicle investments. Of course, cities always try to save taxpayer dollars, but a renewed focus on sustainability and the environment makes reducing carbon dioxide emissions equally important. One thing is certain: Electric vehicles (especially pickup trucks) will create monumental changes in government fleet management. Dain Giesie is Assistant Vice President of Administration with Enterprise Fleet Management and can be contacted at dain.e.giesie@efleets.com. For more information specific to Florida, Don Duckworth is a Senior Account Executive with Enterprise Fleet Management’s Tampa Division and can be contacted at don.duckworth@efleets.com. QC FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 37


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CENSUS

Redistricting at the City Level Steps to help keep you in line and out of court by Kurt Spitzer

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n terms of redistricting, the attention of many Floridians is focused on the actions of the state Legislature as they work on the redistricting process for Florida’s House, Senate and Congressional districts based on the 2020 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. But many municipal governments are altering their district boundaries as well. Some city charters provide that municipal elections follow the schedule used by the state and county governments. Those cities should be wrapping up the redistricting process now. But other charters provide for their own schedule, and for those cities that have not yet redistricted their council or commission districts, they should determine the need to realign their district boundaries to equalize populations and ensure compliance with the principle of “one person, one vote.”

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Equalizing the district population is accomplished by changing one or more boundaries of council districts within a city so that each district has a population that is roughly equal to one another while ensuring that other legal requirements are met. Although delivered almost five months late, the 2020 census data has been available since August 2021 and is presumed to be accurate. (Access census data at bit.ly/3onaz2J.) Within the confines of statutes, case law and your city’s charter, redistricting is the prerogative and duty of the legislative body of the city. It’s the city council or commission that has the authority to make adjustments to its district boundaries. The local redistricting process need not be characterized by a contentious, heated debate that spills into the courts, as it sometimes is at other levels of government. By following a few


FEATURE simple procedures and using generally accepted criteria, your city can redistrict itself in a smooth process. LET OPENNESS BE YOUR GUIDE

All actions taken by municipal officials are subject to Florida’s Sunshine Law and public records laws. But extra efforts should be made in the redistricting process to ensure that it is transparent and solicits input from residents. Plan well-publicized workshop meetings on redistricting of the council, possibly hold special meetings to solicit input from the public and use the city’s website to keep residents informed. FOLLOW ESTABLISHED CRITERIA

The ultimate decision concerning the new district boundaries will be made by the city council or commission. However, following established criteria will help ensure a smooth process that is understood and accepted by the community, is accomplished on time and stays out of the judicial system. 1. Equal population – Districts should be as nearly equal in population as is possible or practicable. While it is impossible to have districts that are precisely equal in population, an initial policy goal should be to set a deviation from the average district size that is as small as possible. A deviation of less than 3% over or under the average is usually a good target. Note that “population” does not mean registered voters but all people counted by the Census Bureau. In some cases, the votingage population may be used instead of the total population and convicted felons residing in a state or federal prison within the city may be excluded from population counts. Two districts with a difference in population of more than 10 percentage points (e.g., the largest district’s population is 7% over the average and the smallest is 5% under) may raise a “red flag” with the courts. In such cases, adjustments to district boundaries must be made, or the underlying public policy necessitating such a deviation should be well-documented. 2. Minority voting strength – The districting plan must not dilute the voting strength of minorities. Two common ways that minority voting strength is diluted and should be avoided are: ▸ Packing – Locating most of a minority population into a single district to dilute their influence in other districts. ▸ Cracking – Splitting the minority population into two or more districts to dilute their influence in all districts. 3. Census blocks – Cities should use the data provided by the Census Bureau. This information is the most recent that is readily available and is presumed to be correct. The smallest unit of information available from the Bureau is “census blocks.” While the census data is the best we have, there may be glitches

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that are apparent only to local officials or to persons familiar with redistricting software, so check for anomalies in the data. 4. District shape and boundaries – While following the primary criteria as described above, the objective should be to develop a districting system that is logical, easy for voters to understand and preserves communities of interest. Here are four commonsense guidelines to follow: ▸ Bizarre shapes – Avoid them! Serpentine or other extreme shapes with no valid underlying public policy objective should be avoided. They tend to raise a red flag with the courts. Generally, the more compact a district, the better. ▸ Existing boundaries – Recognize them. Attempting to keep the new boundaries as similar as possible to the old boundaries is easier for the electors to understand and lessens the workload of the Supervisor of Elections. ▸ Significant geographic features – District boundaries should follow significant human-made or natural boundaries, such as primary roads and major bodies of water. ▸ Neighborhoods – The redistricting plan should try to preserve neighborhoods by not splitting them into two or more districts. STEPS OF THE PROCESS

The first step is to “layer” the current district boundaries on top of the new census data. An analysis may show that no boundary adjustments are required. If such is the case, develop a record, readopt the boundaries, and you’re done! If the new data shows a significant imbalance, discuss and adopt your criteria or guidelines, develop a plan for garnering public input, prepare your draft maps, and plan for your public hearings. The process of reviewing alternative maps and redistricting plans is a “back and forth” or iterative process. One, two or several alternative maps that are legally sufficient can be presented for public review and comment. As input is received, you may narrow the alternatives down to one or two for final consideration. A knowledgeable, impartial facilitator is important in ensuring a successful redistricting process. Some cities use internal staff, while others elect to use an outside consultant to fulfill this role. A transparent, public process is key to adopting your new district boundaries in a manner that is based on consensus and avoids challenges in court. Kurt Spitzer is President of Kurt Spitzer and Associates, a local government consulting firm based in Tallahassee. He may be reached at 850.228.6212. More information about city redistricting is available at ksanet.net. QC

For More Information on City Redistricting See these Florida League of Cities webinars:

▸ Redistricting and the 2020 Census. bit.ly/3dBWzvM. ▸ Redrawing Council Districts: The Law and Best Practices. bit.ly/3I3Q0zm.

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FINANCING

Not All Debt is Bad

Look at risk associated with debt, and choose projects carefully by Robert Inzer

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his is the fourth and last article in a series discussing managing risk and what you as an elected official should know. In prior articles, we provided an overview of risks your city may incur and ways to protect your city. We’ve addressed the need for reserves to fund immediate costs incurred through hurricanes and other unexpected expenditures. We’ve addressed liability concerns and how to protect your city. The last article covered the risks associated with investing surplus funds and how your city can mitigate these risks through oversight, review of performance and participation in professionally managed pooled programs. This article will discuss risks associated with debt. How much debt is appropriate for your city? What are the advantages and disadvantages of internal funding of projects versus funding projects through bond proceeds? And, what are the opportunities for your city to mitigate risk during the debt issuance process and the management of this debt once issued? In conversations over the years with city commissioners, I’ve heard them advocate for issuing debt and also be opposed to incurring any debt. Debt is not good or bad. It is a tool, and like all tools, it can be used effectively or can be abused. There are advantages and disadvantages to funding a project through debt. By issuing debt and building the project today, you are enhancing the quality of life in your community by making the improvements available to your citizens sooner. You are also not subjecting the project to inflationary risks of deferring construction until adequate internal reserves can be accumulated to build it. Issuing debt also ensures that future citizens who have access and use the project will pay for it. Pay as you go financing may take many years to accumulate 40 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

the needed resources to fund a project, and yesterday’s citizens that paid taxes to build the project may or may not be tomorrow’s users. Debt spreads the costs out over the future so that future users will be paying for the project. As an example, consider an expansion to your sewer system. If you are building an expansion of your treatment facility to potentially accommodate future growth, then issuing debt ensures those future users will be paying for that facility in their sewer bills. One of the main disadvantages is debt reduces future flexibility. A portion of your future budgets will be fixed, and if there is a need to reduce future budgetary expenditures, it will be more difficult since debt repayment of the bonded debt is not optional. Another disadvantage is that future taxpayers have no voice in the project or the repayment of the debt. Lastly, you are paying interest on the borrowed funds. We are currently in a period of exceptionally low interest rates, with interest rates on municipal bonds being around 2%, which is below the rate of inflation for the past 10 years. Under Florida law, all capital expenditures are eligible for debt financing. The fact that they are eligible does not suggest that they should be financed through debt. A fiscally prudent city provides for a balance between pay-as-you-go financing and debt financing. As a general rule, cities that are growing rapidly have large capital programs and will generally have a higher debt level than mature, fully built-out cities that are maintaining their infrastructure. The Florida Constitution and Florida Statutes limit local governments in what you can pledge for security for your debt. Unlike the private sector, cities cannot pledge assets as security for


FEATURE their bonds. Unless you have passed a referendum allowing you to pledge the full faith and credit of the city, you will be limited to pledging specific revenue sources. Debt sold to support an expansion of a utility can and generally does pledge the revenues from such utility. The Florida Legislature has identified specific general fund revenues that can be used as security for your general government debt. These include, among others, sales taxes, state revenue sharing and telecommunication and utility taxes. These are very constraining and provide limited access to the market for growing cities. Some larger, high credit quality cities have been able to find market acceptance for debt secured by a covenant to budget and appropriate. Cities can also enter into lease purchase agreements for equipment whereby they lease the equipment and, at the end of the lease, acquire the equipment for a nominal amount. Due to the aforementioned restrictions, Florida local governments tend not to abuse debt and have less debt than cities in other states. The risks associated with debt are not limited just to the loss of budgetary flexibility but also the debt instruments used and the subsequent management of the debt until it is retired. Default by cities on their bonded debt is relatively rare, and the recovery rate is very high. There have been some spectacular defaults in the municipal market, including New York City in 1975, Washington Public Power Supply System in 1983 and more recently, Stockton, CA (2012); Jefferson County (Birmingham), AL (2012); and Harrisburg, PA (2010). These are not all the governments that have defaulted but are some of the more high-profile government agencies. Studies have shown that the leading cause of default tends to be in areas of high growth where the local government was overly optimistic in their projections of future growth that did not materialize. This study finding is true of Jefferson County and Washington Public Power Supply System. It was also true of many community development districts (CDDs) in Florida that sold bonds in anticipation of building new communities in 2004-2009. When we entered the Great Recession, the housing market collapsed, and many of these CDDs fell into default. In 2009 in the Hillsborough County area alone, over 50 CDDs with debt exceeding $1 billion were in or near default on their debt. How do you ensure your city is not tomorrow’s poster child for mismanagement of debt? While the examples listed are high-profile large governments, most cities that get into debt trouble are smaller cities. Small cities have staff that wears multiple hats. One person may be the treasurer, finance director, debt manager and budget director. The breadth of responsibilities precludes the staff member from becoming a specialist in any

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of these responsibilities, so the person becomes a generalist in each of them. Only a handful of cities in Florida have sufficient outstanding debt to warrant an employee dedicated to managing the debt function. Beginning in 1985, the Florida League of Cities (FLC) recognized the need to provide cities assistance in their debt management programs. The League sold their first bond issue of $300 million more than 35 years ago and loaned the proceeds to qualifying cities to finance their capital requirements. From this first bond issue and the League’s current programs that started in 1998, the FLC has assisted over 60 cities and closed over 175 loans using fixed-rate, variable-rate, bank loans and equipment financing in aggregate of more than $1.5 billion. The League has developed standardized templates that have proven successful over the years, so you are not starting your financing with a blank sheet. While it begins with standardized documents, your financing will be customized to meet your specific needs. The League created this program to help cities, and it has continued to operate with that focus. The League understands that debt management does not end when you close your bond issue, but it is just beginning. Your obligations continue for the next 20 to 30 years until the debt is retired. Your city will have ongoing obligations of disclosure and arbitrage rebate, and the League has developed protocols to assist you. They have retained the services of DAC Bond to ensure that your required filings are done properly and in a timely manner. The League staff is also coordinating with DAC to follow up with your staff to remind them of upcoming filing requirements. Different issuers have different needs, and the League’s program may not be best for all cities. If you are a large, frequent issuer with staff dedicated to monitoring the market and staying up with regulations, then you may not need the League’s service. However, if you are an infrequent, small- to medium-size issuer with limited staff resources, the League’s debt program may be an attractive alternative for issuing your debt. As a city leader, you are an owner and partner with the League. I think if you talk to representatives of cities that have participated, they will speak highly of the program and the services they’ve received.

The risks associated with debt

are not limited just to the loss of

budgetary flexibility but also the debt instruments used and the

subsequent management of the debt until it is retired.

Robert Inzer is an advisor to the Florida League of Cities. He has 47 years of municipal finance experience that includes 30 years with the City of Tallahassee, 20 years of which was spent as City Treasurer-Clerk. QC *The Florida League of Cities and the Florida Municipal Loan Council are not registered investment advisors. FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 41


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FEATURE

YOUTH COUNCILS

Video Competition Winners

Three recognized for showcasing creativity and commitment to communities by Eryn Russell Florida League of Cities

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he Florida League of Cities is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Youth Council Video Competition. This year’s video competition asked Florida’s municipal youth councils, “What is the most critical youth issue your youth council would like to address in the upcoming year?” Three youth councils were selected as winners.

GULF BREEZE MUNICIPAL YOUTH COUNCIL

The Gulf Breeze Municipal Youth Council identified clean water as the most critical issue in their community. To address this issue, the Youth Council is planning a community service project to plant oyster gardens in the City of Gulf Breeze’s surrounding waterways. As the video explains, oysters help filter seawater. By planting an oyster garden, the Youth Council will help the eastern oyster population increase throughout the local marine and coastal ecosystems.

SANFORD MAYOR’S YOUTH COUNCIL

Promoting a diverse and inclusive environment within the City of Sanford was the top issue identified by the Sanford Mayor’s Youth Council.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF GULF BREEZE

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF SANFORD

The Youth Council plans to create multifaceted diversity and inclusion workshops for elementary, middle and high school students. Each workshop will be adapted for the audience’s age group and will include topics such as unconscious bias and microaggressions.

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SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT

FEATURE

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WELLINGTON YOUTH COUNCIL

For the Wellington Youth Council, closing the literacy gap that was widened due to the COVID-19 pandemic was identified as a critical issue in their community. In partnership with the Village of Wellington, the Youth Council began providing transportation to students from underserved communities to the Village’s Youth and Family Center. Students receive an hour of tutoring and academic support from members of the Youth Council. To view the videos and find more information on municipal youth councils, please visit the League’s website at flcities.com/ municipal-youth-councils. PHOTO COURTESY OF VILLAGE OF WELLINGTON

Eryn Russell is an Ambassador at the Florida League of Cities. QC

INSURANCE FRAUD THE CRIME EVERYONE PAYS FOR Insurance fraud costs the average family $400-700 annually.

2022 Youth Council Community Service Contest Future leaders are taking action in their hometowns to address local needs, and the Florida League of Cities wants to help showcase these efforts through its annual community service contest. Youth councils are invited to submit current youth council projects that address a local need. Examples include volunteering at a community event, educating your fellow youth or organizing a neighborhood or beach cleanup. The deadline to submit projects is Friday, April 15, 2022. For more information, please visit flcities.com/municipal-youth-councils.

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Help reduce these costs by reporting fraud.

UP TO $5,000 REWARD For information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person found guilty of a crime involving insurance fraud against the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust.

REPORT INSURANCE FRAUD CALL 888.447.5877

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FEATURE

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FEDERAL

Exploring Infrastructure Win Cities celebrate funds for transportation, broadband and water by Clarence E. Anthony National League of Cities

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fter years of advocacy, the National League of Cities (NLC) is proud to share the details of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed into law by President Joe Biden. This $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill was the result of years of lobbying and activism by NLC with the Florida League of Cities and other state municipal leagues. It means transformative investments in transportation, broadband and water are heading to Florida and cities, towns and villages across our nation. (See details on following pages.) We are ushering in a historic investment in America’s infrastructure. The infrastructure deal includes several new programs like the Safe Streets and Roads for All program that cities can directly access. It also renews and funds many existing infrastructure programs, such as the water state revolving loan that will be just as valuable. As cities rebuild and recover, these funds will be used to increase equality, create safer transportation, build resilient structures and strengthen our economy.

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As we celebrate this huge legislative win, NLC also wants to make sure cities are beginning to plan and prepare to make the most of these opportunities from the bipartisan infrastructure law in 2022. Here are just a few ways to start getting your city ready to rebuild: 1. Identify your local priorities and how they match up to federal grants using NLC’s new Infrastructure Bill Insights Tool for members. This tool provides a searchable list of programs for local leaders in cities included in the IIJA. The NLC will continue to add to this live resource with application links and deadlines as they become available. (Access the tool at bit.ly/3IRlmKq.) 2. Plan to attend NLC’s federal training sessions on new and renewed infrastructure programs that cities can access. The NLC will have federal officials and cities that were successful in these programs sharing their insights so you can familiarize your city with the programs and get

advice. For news about upcoming information sessions, email advocacy@ nlc.org to receive our federal advocacy newsletter.

3. Save the date for the 2022 Congressional City Conference, March 14-16, in Washington, D.C., where

we’ll sit down with key administration leaders who will be administering the programs. We’ll talk about what’s coming and start to advance your city priorities with the administration and Congress. (For more information, go to nlc.org/ conferences-meetings.)

We know all of Florida’s municipalities are ready to rebuild, and NLC is excited to deliver for you to make the most of this historic opportunity in 2022. Cities can do more than survive; we can thrive. Clarence E. Anthony is the CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities. You can follow him on Twitter: @ceanthony50. QC


FEATURE

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Key Programs and Funding by Priority Area 1. Rebuild transportation connectivity. ▸ $5 billion Safe Streets and Roads for All program supports “vision zero” plans and other improvements to reduce crashes and fatalities, especially by cyclists and pedestrians. ▸ $20 billion historic investment in large bridges in poor condition and bridges in rural and tribal areas. ▸ $5 billion in National Infrastructure Project Assistance grants to complete critical large projects. ▸ Additional $7.5 billion in Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants and $8 billion in Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grants to rebuild critical transportation infrastructure. ▸ $500 million for Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grants demonstrating transportation technology integrations. ▸ $2.5 billion in Electric Charging and Fueling Infrastructure competitive grants for designated alternative fuel corridors. ▸ $25 billion for the Airport Improvement grant program and funds for a new Airport Terminal Improvement program. ▸ $1 billion for the new Reconnecting Communities program to remove barriers to community connectivity and rectify harms from past transportation investments. ▸ Transit’s Capital Investment Grant program jumps to $3 billion per year. Also, a $1.75 billion All Stations Accessibility Program and $250 million under the Enhanced Mobility for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities program. ▸ $66 billion investment in rail with $12 billion dedicated to partnership grants for intercity rail service, including highspeed rail, and $5 billion for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program (CRISI) for intercity passenger and freight rail. ▸ Advanced Research Projects Agency-Infrastructure (ARPA-I) will advance transportation infrastructure and develop innovative science and technology solutions for long-term challenges. ▸ $3 billion for the Grade Crossing elimination grant program to fix rail and road crossing congestion.

2. Invest in water and climate resilience. Water: ▸ $11.713 billion each for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) over five years (49% as principal forgiveness/grants, 51% as loans). ▸ $15 billion for lead pipe replacement through the Drinking Water SRF (49% as principal forgiveness/grants, 51% as loans). ▸ $10 billion in grants to address emerging contaminants and PFAS drinking water contamination. ▸ $75 million for the Army Corps WIFIA program for safety projects to maintain, upgrade and repair dams identified in the National Inventory of Dams. Climate change and resilience: Provisions for energy efficiency, electric grid resilience, pre-disaster mitigation, drought and Western water resilience, and flood and wildfire mitigation. The bill invests in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, establishes a carbon reduction program to reduce transportation emissions and establishes a formula and competitive grant program to help states improve transportation infrastructure. ▸ $550 million for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. ▸ $500 million for the Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program. ▸ $250 million for a new Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund. ▸ $225 million for grants to implement updated building energy codes. ▸ $8.3 billion for Bureau of Reclamation western water infrastructure, including funds for aging infrastructure, water storage, water recycling and reuse, waterSMART and drought contingency plans. ▸ $500 million for the Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Act to provide loans and grants to local communities facing rising water levels, coastal erosion and flooding. ▸ $3.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Mitigation Assistance program, which helps provide financial and technical assistance to states and communities to reduce the risk of flood damage to homes and businesses through buyouts, elevation and other activities. ▸ $1 billion for the FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program, a pre-disaster mitigation program supporting hazard mitigation projects to reduce the risks from disasters and natural hazards.

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FEATURE

Key Programs and Funding by Priority Area (continued) Environment: Provides funding for environmental cleanup and municipal recycling programs. ▸ $1.5 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties. ▸ $3.5 billion for the Hazardous Substance Superfund program to allow EPA to invest in cleanups and move forward on remedial actions for Superfund sites. ▸ $275 million over five years for grants to states to support improvements to local post-consumer materials management, including municipal recycling programs, and assist local waste management authorities in making improvements to local waste management systems. ▸ $75 million for grants focused on improving material recycling, recovery, management and reduction. The EPA program will educate households and consumers about residential and community recycling.

3. Funds for broadband access, digital equity and cybersecurity. Broadband infrastructure: ▸ $42 billion for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program. Provides formula grants to states to award subgrants for broadband planning, mapping, deployment and adoption programs and prioritize unserved areas, underserved areas and anchor institutions. States will coordinate with local governments when drafting plans for approval by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). ▸ $1 billion for Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure. Creates a competitive grant program for construction, improvement or acquisition of middle mile broadband infrastructure. Digital equity and broadband affordability: ▸ $1.3 billion for the Digital Equity Act, establishing two digital equity grants: state formula grants and competitive grants, which local governments and nonprofits could access. These funds are for digital inclusion work such as connecting residents in need of devices, subsidized broadband subscriptions and skills training. ▸ The Affordable Connectivity Program extends and modifies the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Emergency Broadband Program for five years and drops the monthly discount to $30 per household. ▸ Policy changes: o Consumer Broadband Labels – FCC to promulgate regulations for consumer broadband labels providing standardized information on pricing and performance. o Broadband Speed Study – Government Accountability Office to provide a report to Congress evaluating the FCC’s process for establishing broadband speed standards. o Digital Discrimination – FCC to promulgate rules to facilitate equal access to broadband and prohibit broadband deployment discrimination (also known as digital redlining) based on an area’s income, race/ethnicity composition or other factors. Directs FCC to develop model state and local policies to ensure broadband providers don’t engage in digital discrimination. Cybersecurity: ▸ $120 million for the Cyber Response and Recovery Act to allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to declare a Significant Cyber Incident and provide direct support to impacted entities. Establishes a Cyber Response and Recovery Fund of $20 million per year for six years. ▸ $1 billion for the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program. Establishes a cybersecurity grant program for states and localities to develop and implement cybersecurity plans and address imminent threats. Funds are routed through states, and allocation plans must be developed with and approved by localities. ▸ $250 million Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance Program. Directs a study on incentives to encourage public utilities to invest in cybersecurity and participate in Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs), establishes an incentive program and directs the EPA and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to identify public water systems vulnerable to cyberattack and develop a plan for technical support. Source: Diggs IE. What the Senate Infrastructure Bill Means for Local Governments. National League of Cities. bit.ly/3DU7kUI.

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MUNICOMM

MESSAGING

The Business of Body Language

How your nonverbal communication is telling its own story

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ou are on your third virtual meeting of the day and begin to yawn. Maybe you avert your eyes. What is the body language you’re displaying communicating to fellow meeting attendees? Are you aware of the messages you’re sending? Research suggests that most of our daily communication, anywhere from 80% to more than 90%, is nonverbal. How we evaluate and respond to nonverbal communication can vary depending on the person, but awareness is key, said Kimberly Wells-Bernard, Ph.D., Professor at Nassau Community College and expert in applied organizational psychology. “If your goal is effective communication, it’s critical to be aware of our body language,” Wells-Bernard said. “It will color how individuals perceive you, the message you are attempting to convey and whether they receive the message at all.” Nonverbal messaging includes body movements, gestures and facial expressions. Facial expressions are referred to as microexpressions – brief, involuntary emotional displays that reflect the individual’s inner state. “The challenge that Zoom creates from an interpersonal perspective is that people are forced to rely on facial cues more heavily,” Wells-Bernard said. “If you’re deep in thought, the muscles in your face may naturally tense and tighten, which could be misperceived as disagreement or dissatisfaction.” Body language is important because humans inherently assign meaning to the behaviors they observe in others. For example, an action as simple as crossing

by Kara Irby Florida League of Cities one’s arms, while perhaps simply an adjustment for comfort, could be mistakenly interpreted as a sign of being closed off or defensive, Wells-Bernard said. Often, nonverbal behaviors may convey unintentional messages to the listeners, who consequently mirror the energy perceived from the speaker. Vocal tone and volume are also essential forms of nonverbal interpersonal communication. To ensure maximum impact, speakers should modulate the volume and tone of their voice to match the context and needs of the listener or audience. So how do we keep our nonverbal communication in check? Practice setting your facial expression to a warm and welcoming smile when engaging others and maintaining a calm demeanor, Wells-Bernard suggested “Humans are wired to share emotional cues,” she said. “As such, the nonverbal behavior displayed by the speaker should be leveraged to set the course for a positive interaction and maximize impact.” This advice applies whether you’re interacting with a colleague or addressing the media. Candice Temple , Public Media Relations Director for the City of Palm Beach Gardens, said, “When I am working with someone who is about to engage in public speaking, they are often nervous. That nervous energy can sometimes make its way into their body language and inadvertently communicate something

unintended.” Temple, President-elect of the Florida Municipal Communicators Association, encourages speakers to close their eyes and take several deep breaths to allow their bodies to release that nervous energy. “You’d be surprised what this does to help you regain focus on your objective and get your shoulders, arms and fingers to calm,” she said. Body posture is paramount when addressing large or public audiences, Wells-Bernard said. For those who struggle with an intense case of nerves, she encourages channeling your inner superhero. “Practice high power poses when preparing for an important presentation, interview or meeting,” Wells-Bernard said. “Assuming an open and expansive stance for as few as two to three minutes has been associated with higher levels of performance and self-reported confidence. Further, researchers at Harvard University have shown that engaging in high power poses are associated with an increase in testosterone (the dominance hormone) and a decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone).” So whether you’re gearing up for your next Zoom meeting or prepping for your next press conference, get your superman or woman on, and seize your next communication moment. Kara Irby is a Communications Specialist at the Florida League of Cities. QC

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FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK

#FLCITYWEEK

Recap of Florida City Government Week by Eryn Russell Florida League of Cities

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lorida City Government Week is a weeklong annual event when Florida’s cities celebrate, showcase and engage citizens in the work of municipal government.

During the week, cities educate and engage residents about the range of services their municipality offers, and they celebrate and showcase what makes them stand out. Each city, town and village brings its unique approach to the week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many cities adapted their celebrations to include in-person or virtual events, or both! The activities in this article provide inspiration and ideas for this year’s event, which will be held October 17-23, 2022.

B A R TOW

B OY N TO N B E AC H

The City of Bartow hosted the Bartow High School U.S. Government class at City Hall. Students learned about municipal government and Home Rule and participated in a mock Commission meeting. During the mock meeting, the students read and approved a resolution recognizing Florida City Government Week. Officials and staff spoke to the students throughout the day’s program, and the students were served lunch.

To recognize #FLCityWeek, the City of Boynton Beach posted a series of videos in which staff members were interviewed about their journey to the City and their current job, including the ADA Title II Coordinator, Records Coordinator, Staff Engineer, Public Art Manager, Director of Economic Development and Strategy and the Manager of Materials and Distribution.

CAPE CORAL Throughout the weeklong celebration, the City of Cape Coral brought awareness to Cape Coral’s role in enhancing the quality of life for residents. The week featured activities including videos spotlighting City services and employees, social media posts highlighting City departments and an interactive Florida City Government Week table in City Hall.

BELLEVIEW The City of Belleview participated in activities including passing a Florida City Government Week proclamation, celebrating the retirement of a longtime municipal employee, hosting a job fair and hosting an ice cream social with the Mayor. To stay social with citizens, the City also shared several posts throughout the week and provided facts about Belleview. 48 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022


FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK C O C OA The City of Cocoa kicked off the City’s annual Citizens Academy program. Throughout the week, the City placed posts on social media channels to teach residents about the City. The City hosted a Touch-a-Truck event during a local festival, where attendees could learn more about city vehicles.

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celebrating past elected officials, and the Fire Department visiting pre-K and elementary schools to talk about Fire Prevention Month. The City concluded the celebration with a social issue roundtable hosted by the Mayor that was followed by a picnic luncheon.

D E B A RY The City of DeBary celebrated each day by highlighting a different department at City Hall to raise awareness about how the department helps maintain the City. The City also engaged the public by posting city trivia on social media to test citizens’ knowledge.

COCONUT CREEK The City of Coconut Creek paired up elected officials and staff to give presentations at local high schools to talk about city government and careers in local government. Also, the City promoted staff videos on social media, held two City-related contests on social media, shared Florida City Government Week video messages from Mayor Rebecca Tooley, Senator Tina Scott Polsky, State Representative Christine Hunschofsky and more.

CRESTVIEW The City of Crestview took an active role in celebrating #FLCityWeek with a calendar full of events. Activities included recognizing local clubs and organizations,

DESTIN The City of Destin engaged the community virtually this year. The Mayor and members of Team Destin showcased aspects of city government and the services available to Destin’s citizens. The Mayor kicked off the first of several videos that were available on the City’s Facebook page.

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FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK

DUNEDIN

GA I N E S V I L L E

The City of Dunedin engaged in Florida City Government Week through social media platforms by spotlighting the many volunteers and City employees who make a difference. The City also shared a video showcasing everything the City offers and a video from the City Manager giving the latest updates to residents. The City leaders were happy to see residents engage with the daily posts and trivia questions.

The City of Gainesville hosted 14 “Good Citizens of the Month” from Alachua County public schools. The fifth graders met the Mayor, toured a Gainesville Fire Rescue station, watched the Gainesville Police Department’s K-9 “Stern” in action and visited the headquarters of the City’s regional transit system. Lastly, the students recorded a public service announcement that will air on a local channel.

F E R N A N D I N A B E AC H

G O L D E N B E AC H

During #FLCityWeek, the Fernandina Beach Fire, Police, and Planning and Conservation departments visited schools to showcase equipment and talk to students about local government. Additionally, the newly established Youth Advisory Council added #FLCityWeek to their agenda and discussed ways of getting high school students involved. The City accepted a proclamation recognizing the week, and the City Manager dedicated his weekly column to #FLCityWeek.

The Town of Golden Beach took the opportunity to celebrate Florida City Government Week virtually this year. Through a Zoom virtual Town Council meeting, the Town leaders encouraged younger residents to ask questions about local government. The Town also invited residents to submit videos or photos sharing what they love about Golden Beach. Due to high resident response, the Town will now be including a section in the town’s magazine for residents to continue to share content showcasing their #GoldenBeachPride.

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FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK G R E E N C OV E S P R I N G S The City of Green Cove Springs held an essay contest for fifth graders from the local elementary school. The students who participated were recognized at a City Council meeting. The City also held Equipment Day when the Public Works and Electric Services departments took equipment to the school for students to view and ask questions. Additionally, a City police officer and K-9 Grit visited the school and conducted a presentation on how K-9 Grit works with the Police Department.

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History Reviews” that contained information on each trivia question. Additionally, the Town held a Coffee with the Mayor and Manager event where residents had the chance to ask about upcoming projects, express concerns and discuss ideas for making the Town better.

L A N TA N A The Town of Lantana hosted Coffee with a Councilmember at Town Hall. The Town also invited citizens to attend a Spooktacular Drive-In Movie Night event and visit the library to check out their programs. The Town coordinated a poster contest with local schools for students to portray what they love about living in Lantana.

LAKE ALFRED The City of Lake Alfred promoted Florida City Government Week by reading a proclamation endorsed by the City Commission. The City’s library team also created and designed a display to showcase how city government works. The display table had local government books for residents to check out, stickers and pens, governmentrelated word search puzzles and promotional items from City departments.

LARGO The City of Largo celebrated the week through a proclamation, a social media campaign, newsletters, school outreach and a special video from the Mayor sharing his journey to becoming involved with the City. The City also hosted a booth at the annual Howl-O-Train event where the community could connect with commissioners, staff and volunteers and learn how to get involved with City programs.

LAKE CLARKE SHORES The Town of Lake Clarke Shores kicked off Florida City Government Week by releasing new social media stickers for residents to use. The Town also used social media stories to play trivia with residents and posted “Town FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 51


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FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK

LO N G B OAT K E Y

MOUNT DORA

During #FLCityWeek, the Town of Longboat Key hosted a photo contest that asked residents to capture the essence and beauty of the Town. The Town also hosted a shred event for residents and produced a new video about Town services. The Town also encouraged residents to watch a virtual Town Hall open house video.

The City of Mount Dora hosted a photography contest to allow photographers of all skill levels to share their perspectives of the Mount Dora community and culture. The City also hosted a public safety open house. Residents received giveaways, played in emergency response vehicles, toured City stations and more.

LO N GWO O D A proclamation recognizing the week was presented at the Longwood City Commission meeting. Additionally, 10 videos were posted on social media platforms about each City department.

C ITY O F MO UN T D O R A

PUBLIC SAFETY

O PE N H O US E

Ice Cream Station Kids Fire Hose Demo Fire Station Tour Vehicle Tour and more.... Don't miss out!

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 5:00-7:00 P.M.

Fun for all ages. Come out and meet your local police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel, take tours of the station & vehicles, see demonstrations and enjoy giveaways & free ice-cream! Bring the whole family!

1300 N DONNELLY ST, MT DORA, FL 32757

NAPLES The City of Naples highlighted City departments on social media. The City also hosted a photo contest. Amateur and professional photographers of all ages were invited to enter their best images celebrating “My City: I’m Part of It, I’m Proud of It.” The City also recognized City departments and divisions by sharing the services provided to the citizens of Naples.

M A RY E S T H E R The City of Mary Esther held an ice cream social at the local library to celebrate #FLCityWeek. The Mayor, City Council, City Manager and City Clerk greeted and met with residents to learn more about their vision for the community. The City provided a written summary of City programs and services, and copies of the recently adopted annual budget and the Five-Year Community Investment Plan were available.

NEW PORT RICHEY The City of New Port Richey participated in this year’s #FLCityWeek by highlighting departments daily on social media, hosting a #TuesdayTrivia contest, hosting a public 52 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022


FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK “Ask a Council Person” session, providing tours of City Hall, hosting a Touch-a-Truck event with City vehicles and partnering with the local middle school on a poster contest. Additionally, the Mayor was the guest reader at the Library’s Rhymes-to-Readers story time.

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City Commission chambers, the water plant, a firetruck presentation and a special presentation from the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The tour ended with students having a pizza lunch at the City’s Teen Center with department directors.

NORTH MIAMI For #FLCityWeek, the City of North Miami hosted events ranging from Virtual Talks, which allowed residents to see different sides of many administrators of North Miami, to a Business Breakfast with small business owners. In addition, a job fair, a free COVID-19 testing and vaccination event, and a moment to appreciate the City’s clergy with Clergy Appreciation month were held. The Office of the City Clerk also developed videos explaining City departments and how the City of North Miami is governed.

N E W B E R RY The City of Newberry hosted an interactive “My City Government” parade featuring City employees and its municipal fleet with elementary school students.

OLDSMAR Oldsmar Councilmember Katie Gannon presented a proclamation for Florida City Government Week during the October City Council meeting to Assistant City Manager Felicia Donnelly, who accepted it on behalf of the community.

N O R T H L AU D E R DA L E The North Lauderdale Pre-K-8 School and Silver Lakes Middle School were invited to tour City facilities and learn about local government operations. The tour included

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FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK

ORANGE CITY The City Council of Orange City hosted “Cookies with the City Council,” an opportunity for residents and community members to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know their City Council members one-on-one. City departments were also featured on social media, where posts explained to residents what each department does. The Mayor also read a proclamation recognizing Florida City Government Week at a City Council meeting.

PA L AT K A During a regular session meeting, the Palatka City Commission encouraged its citizens and employees to participate and recognize Florida City Government Week.

Director also spoke at a City Council meeting on behalf of the employees, and the Director explained their roles and recognized the work they do for residents.

PA R K L A N D The City of Parkland celebrated Florida City Government Week by showing municipal-related videos in every third grade classroom. The videos included a message from each School Resource Officer, educational videos on recycling, a tour of the fire/rescue apparatus from the City of Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department, a story read by the City’s library team and a video from the Mayor about city government and how it operates. The students also participated in class projects and received goody bags.

PEMBROKE PINES The City of Pembroke Pines read a proclamation at the October 20 Commission meeting and sent a press release.

PA N A M A C I T Y B E AC H The City of Panama City Beach focused on recognizing its municipal employees. Each day, the City posted snapshots of employees on social media and featured over 180 employees throughout the week. The Communications 54 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022


FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK P L A N TAT I O N Plantation City Council President Denise Horland addressed the fifth grade classes at Central Park Elementary. The students discussed budgets, services, elections, advocacy and more. Students then participated in a mock quasi-judicial hearing, where students participated as members of the Council, residents and developers.

QC

University and spoke to students about her role for the City.

P O R T S T. L U C I E At the school board’s request, the City of Port St. Lucie held a three-hour “live” virtual town hall for local youth. Six schools participated, and over 40 questions were answered by the panelists, which included the Mayor, Communications Director, Deputy City Attorney, Strategic Initiatives Director and a Port St. Lucie Police Officer.

PONCE INLET The Town of Ponce Inlet hosted a “Local Government Meet & Greet.” The Meet & Greet allowed residents to speak with all Town departments at the local community center.

P U N TA G O R DA

PORT ORANGE Port Orange’s Mayor read a proclamation at the October 19 City Council meeting recognizing the week. Additionally, a group of local homeschool students visited City Hall, where the Mayor explained how local government works. Lastly, the City’s Public Information Officer visited Bethune-Cookman

A proclamation was presented at the City Council meeting. #FLCityWeek pens and stickers were distributed to residents. The City also used social media platforms to share information about #FLCityWeek and promote the City’s Citizens Academy.

FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 55


QC

FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK

SANFORD

S T UA R T

Sanford Mayor Art Woodruff and City staff read a proclamation recognizing the week. The Sanford Mayor’s Youth Council also promoted Florida City Government Week in several ways: through social media and by handing out stickers and pens in historic downtown Sanford and at school. The Youth Council also talked to their peers, neighbors and friends about the role of local government.

Commissioners and staff participated in 12 story time sessions, reading “The City That Talks” to students aged pre-K through second grade at two local elementary schools and a local childcare center.

S U N N Y I S L E S B E AC H =

SEMINOLE To kick off #FLCityWeek, Councilor Thomas Barnhorn read a Florida City Government Week proclamation at the October 12 City Council meeting. Additionally, Mayor Leslie Waters read the Florida League of Cities children’s book, “The City That Talks,” virtually at the Seminole Community Library.

S T. C LO U D During #FLCityWeek, the City of St. Cloud posted daily to the City’s social media platforms with interesting facts about services the City provides its residents. The posts included information on how many miles of water and sewer pipes the City has, how much garbage the City collects each year, how many calls for service the Police and Fire Rescue departments answer annually and more.

56 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

The City of Sunny Isles Beach introduced fifth grade students to local government. The Mayor and City Manager kicked off the event discussing the CouncilManager form of government. Students learned about the functions and operations of public works, the importance of public meetings and transparent government, and more. Additionally, the Chief of Police provided a tour of the police station, and the event concluded with demonstrations from K-9, motor and patrol officers.

T E M P L E T E R R AC E The City of Temple Terrace invited students from Florida College to learn more about local government by participating in the City’s annual Government Day program. Students learned about municipal operations


FLORIDA CITY GOVERNMENT WEEK and selected an area of city government to shadow. The program involved a tour of City Hall and other facilities, meetings with staff and more. The students finished the day by participating in a mock City Council meeting.

WAU C H U L A For #FLCityWeek, the City of Wauchula showcased City employees each day on social media. The Wauchula Police Department and City staff visited a local elementary school to read “The City That Talks” to second grade students. The City also had signs at City Hall highlighting Florida City Government Week and passed out pens and stickers.

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W I N T E R H AV E N Winter Haven employees and Commissioners were in the community highlighting the City’s services and their impact on residents. The Mayor, City Commissioners, City Manager and City staff visited schools and organizations and met with citizens. They shared the City’s story and engaged in discussion about the importance of local government. Citizens toured a water treatment plant and learned the source of their drinking water.

W I N T E R PA R K

W E S TO N The City of Weston celebrated with the return of the Weston University program. Twenty students from four area high schools were selected and will meet monthly through March 2022 to interact with several City departments. Students were introduced to local government by the City Manager Donald Decker and Mayor Margaret Brown and met with state Representative Robin Bartleman, who formerly served on the Weston City Commission.

The City of Winter Park’s Parks and Recreation Department held a special after-school program at the City’s community center. Students learned about what the City does for residents, and the students shared what they loved about the City.

Resolutions Adopted or Proclamations Passed: Bartow Belleview Cocoa Crestview Destin Dunedin Fernandina Beach Gainesville Green Cove Springs Lake Alfred Lantana Largo Longboat Key Longwood Mount Dora New Port Richey Newberry

North Lauderdale North Miami Oldsmar Orange City Palatka Panama City Beach Parkland Pembroke Pines Plantation Ponce Inlet Port Orange Punta Gorda Sanford Seminole Stuart Temple Terrace Winter Haven

FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 57


QC lifestyle QUALITY CITIES

BALANCING LIFE

AND PUBLIC SERVICE

HYGIENE

Eliminating Bad Breath Going beyond the breath mint by Sheryl S. Jackson Florida League of Cities

M

ost people know it as “bad breath,” but halitosis is a common condition that affects everyone at some time. Gum, mints and mouthwash might temporarily eliminate the problem, but the most effective way to treat halitosis is to identify and address the cause of the problem. Common causes include: ▸ Breakdown of food particles in your mouth that increase odor-causing bacteria ▸ Smoking or use of other tobacco products ▸ Gum disease ▸ Poor dental hygiene ▸ Dry mouth, which means less saliva to cleanse the mouth ▸ Medications that release a chemical smell as they break down in your body ▸ Infections from tooth decay, gum disease, mouth sores or oral surgery ▸ Mouth, nose and throat conditions that create bacteria ▸ Chronic inflammation in sinuses that cause postnasal drip ▸ Some diseases such as cancers, chronic reflux or metabolic disorders. 58 QUALITY CITIES | FIRST QUARTER 2022

The first step to eliminating bad breath is to improve oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth and tongue daily and flossing after every meal is important. Proper hygiene and drinking plenty of water throughout the day to clear bacteria from your mouth can effectively eliminate many cases of bad breath. If these lifestyle changes don’t improve the halitosis, visit the dentist to be evaluated. Professional cleaning by a dentist and replacing faulty tooth restorations can remove bacteria breeding grounds to eliminate odor. Antibacterial toothpastes and mouth rinses may be recommended, or if the problem is related to gum disease, a referral to a periodontist, a gum disease specialist, will be made. In most cases, regular dental checkups twice a year, along with good oral hygiene, will remove bacteria from the mouth and give the dentist opportunities to eliminate dental care as a source of bad breath. If the problem persists, a dentist can offer guidance to other medical professionals who can help diagnose the cause. Sheryl S. Jackson is a Writer/Editor with the Florida League of Cities. QC

Source: mayoclinic.org

THARAKORN/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS


LIFESTYLE

QC

TRAVEL

MARTIN-DM/E+/GETTY IMAGES

On the Road Again Tips for making trips go smoothly in 2022 by Erika Branchcomb Florida League of Cities

S

ince the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, many people have been unable to travel due to restrictions and safety concerns. If the record numbers of travelers during the 2021 holiday season are any indication, 2022 could be the year we’re ready to venture out into the world again. While many people turned to virtual options to experience the outside world during the pandemic, seeing something on a screen doesn’t offer the same benefits as traveling in person. According to an August 2020 study conducted by the Institute for Applied Research, 97% of participants reported feeling happier when planning a trip. Another study by Cornell University found that money spent on “doing something” will leave you with a longer-lasting sense of happiness than money spent on “having something.” And we all know that having something to look forward to and the memories we bring back from traveling can help us through hard times. If you’re ready to experience the benefits of travel by visiting friends or family or crossing a trip off your bucket list in 2022, keep these tips in mind when planning your next excursion. PLAN AHEAD

With airlines and hotels now offering more flexible cancellation policies, early booking can save you time and money. ▸ The “prime booking window” for airfare (when you are most likely to get the best price) is 21 to 95 days before departure. ▸ When in doubt, reserve the room. Many hotels now offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before your stay.

risen during 2021 and will likely continue to increase in 2022. ▸ Save money on food by purchasing snacks at your local grocery store before your trip instead of stopping at convenience stores or airport shops. ▸ Compare prices online, but also call the hotel directly. You may be able to secure a better rate than booking online. ▸ If you’re driving, look for a rental (or take the family vehicle) with the best gas mileage. ▸ Instead of going to the most popular tourist destinations, try exploring the outdoors or lesser-known local attractions. STAY SAFE

As COVID-19 and its variants continue to spread and recede across the globe, travelers must be prepared for unexpected changes and be aware of any pandemic-related restrictions. ▸ Find out if any of your destinations require testing or vaccinations, especially when traveling abroad. ▸ Be sure to keep some masks handy in case they are needed. Masks are typically required on domestic and international flights. ▸ Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Bring hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available.

Erika Branchcomb is the Senior Communications Specialist at the Florida League of Cities. QC

BUDGET WELL

Prices for gas, lodging, food and nearly everything else have FIRST QUARTER 2022 | QUALITY CITIES 59


The League’s Story The Florida League of Cities is proud to celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. When the League was established, there were fewer than 1 million residents. Today, 10 decades later, Florida’s population exceeds 21.5 million, and the League – one of the largest state leagues in the nation – continues to serve as a resource and advocate for Florida’s 411 municipalities.


1920s The League was founded on the same principles it holds true today: To concentrate its influence upon other lawmaking bodies for the purpose of shaping legislation; to share the advantages of cooperative action; and to exchange ideas and experiences. The original name was The Florida League of Municipalities. 1930s By 1930, the League was becoming more structured. It was settling into its Jacksonville office and hired its first paid staff member, Colonel E.P. Owens, as Executive Director. 1940s By 1940, Florida’s population had increased 29% over the previous decade, and the homestead exemption amendment of 1934 compounded the fiscal problems of cities. A constitutional amendment abolishing the state ad valorem tax passed in 1940, but municipalities saw no financial relief. The League continually approached the Legislature during the 1940s and protested the curtailment of powers and legislative restriction on tax sources for municipal governments and the recognition of Home Rule power. The impact of World War II on the Sunshine State was coast to coast with training locations. After the war, returning veterans and their families flocked to the state. The League moved to St. Petersburg. 1950s In the 1950s, the League’s headquarters moved back to Jacksonville. Gordon T. Butler led the League and concentrated on bringing cities into the organization and improving the League’s legislative presence. 1960s In the 1960s, the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) was established to revise the 1885 Florida Constitution. The League’s General Counsel at that time, Ralph A. Marsicano, was appointed to the CRC, which contributed to the success of cities securing a constitutional provision for Home Rule. In the mid-1960s, the League began holding a grassroots-driven conference before each legislative session. City officials served on policy committees and established League positions and priorities. 1970s This decade began with a new Tallahassee location, new Executive Director Raymond C. Sittig, and a new name: the Florida League of Cities, Inc. In the 1970s, the League became administrator of a pooled trust program (the Florida Municipal Self-Insurers Fund) that would ultimately become the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust. Many of Florida’s small- to medium-sized local governments could not secure affordable workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The League’s first insurance program was created to address that problem and was followed by similar pooled programs for property and liability.


1980s In 1984, the League formed the Task Force on Florida’s Future: Quality Cities. The Task Force held its inaugural meeting as a fact-finding, information-gathering committee to determine the effects of Amendment One, which sought to limit state and local government revenues. When the amendment was removed from the ballot, the Task Force members agreed to continue their public education efforts. Many longtime League projects were developed through their leadership. An additional pooled insurance program for health, as well as a loan council, were established. 1990s In 1990, the League established the Home Rule Committee for a “Keep Local Taxes Local” campaign to pass Amendment Three, a constitutional amendment to limit unfunded mandates. The amendment passed with 64% of the votes. In 1992, the Save Our Homes constitutional amendment passed. The League opposed it, and many editorials recommended a no vote due to the effect upon local government financial resources. The League adopted its first strategic plan and had a “think tank” committee working on the future for Florida’s cities; its recommendations resulted in many new programs. The League worked with the Florida Department of Education to create a first-ever curriculum about local government for elementary school teachers titled “The ABCs of City Government.” Also during this decade, Sittig retired, and his son Michael Sittig was appointed Executive Director. A pooled pension program for municipal employees was also created. 2000s The programs and services provided by the League continued to expand with a new financial trust in 2007 and a municipal awards program in 2009. 2010s In 2016, The League collaborated with 27 partners in the Partnership for Revising Florida’s Constitution to educate Floridians about the upcoming CRC. Two years later, the League successfully opposed Amendment One to provide a specific homestead exemption. That same year, the League celebrated the 50th anniversary of Home Rule. 2020s In the 2020s, the League and Florida cities faced the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The League responded with resources, including the FLCitiesStrong webinars. The annual conference was held virtually for the first time in League history. Also in this decade, the League published its first children’s book, “The City That Talks.” Michael Sittig retired in 2020 as Executive Director, and Jeannie Garner was named Executive Director.


100TH ANNIVE RSARY


Florida League of Cities

100 YEARS 1968

Constitution Revision Commission created with League representation

1921

Officials discuss association of Florida cities, which totaled about 316

19

E. Offi

Fl In M

1951

League moves to Jacksonville

1969

New Florida Constitution with Home Rule provisions adopted

1928

Fi Pr

1972

League incorporates and begins in Jacksonville; publishes Florida Municipal Record (now Quality Cities)

Municipal Revenue Sharing Trust Fund

1965

First Legislative Conference

1922

14 cities meet, and The Florida League of Municipalities forms

1971

The League moves to Tallahassee

1946

League moves to St. Petersburg

1970

Raymond C. Sittig appointed Executive Director

Name changed to Florida League of Ci


1989

Local government curriculum for schools Orlando property bought for Public Risk Services Department

1984

977

. Harris Drew Municipal fficial of the Year Award

Task Force on Florida’s Future: Quality Cities

lorida Municipal Selfnsurers Fund (now Florida Municipal Insurance Trust)

1990

Amendment 3 passes, limits unfunded mandates

irst female League resident: Virginia S. Young

ities

1992

Institute for Elected Municipal Officials

1985

First League Hispanic President: Robert (Bob) Martinez Florida Municipal Loan Program

1981

Strike Force for Local Property Tax Relief Florida Urban Partnership

1991

First League Black President: Sadye Gibbs Martin First Florida City Government Week Florida Municipal Investment Trust


1998

Tallahassee office opens

2007

Time capsule to be opened in 2048

Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) Trust

2009

Florida Municipal Achievement Awards progr Home Rule Heroes

1999

Special Investigation Unit Florida Municipal Loan Council

2010

Ambassador Program

1995

2006

Federal Action Strike Team

Institute for Civic Leadership

Insurance trusts pooled (Florida Municipal Insurance Trust)

2003

Michael Sittig becomes Executive Director

Florida Cities of Excellence Awards program

2011

The Center for

Florida Local G

2001

New building in Orlando

FLC University Youth Council


2013

Raymond C. Sittig Distinguished Public Service Award

2020

Jeannie Garner becomes Executive Director Field Advocacy and Federal Affairs Department

ram

2021

MuniMod

Grants assistance program with eCivis

New FLC University Training Center in Orlando

Local Voices United grassroots advocacy

2015

LOCAL V ICES UNITED

m

2019

New logo, brand identity and updated website

2017

Youth Council Community Service Contest

r Municipal Research and Innovation

Government Coalition

y

Florida League of Cities

Youth Council Community Service Project Contest

OVERVIEW The community service (volunteer project) contest showcases current or new youth council projects that address a local need. There are many options for your project, such as volunteering with a local nonprofit organization, organizing or participating in the beautification event, working with residents who are in need, or building a community garden or little free library in an area with no access to those amenities. To apply for the contest, in 500 words or less, fully describe your youth council’s community service project, detailing:  What the project entailed.  Why it was needed in your community.  Why your youth council selected the project.  How the project helped the residents you served and impacted the community in general.  Your objectives and if they were met. Describe how.  How the project impacted you and your youth council.

Video Competition

Feel free to provide up to five pages of supportive materials (such as photos depicting scenes from the project, newspaper articles, and letters of recommendation).


The Florida Municipal Insurance Trust, with approximately 530 members, has been providing insurance to Florida’s local governments since 1977.

∙ Property

1.800.445.6248 insurance.flcities.com

∙ Law Enforcement Professional Liability

∙ Workers’ Compensation ∙ General Liability ∙ Health ∙ Auto ∙ Cyber Coverage ∙ Public Officials Liability ∙ Disaster Response and Recovery Services ∙ FMIT Employment Law Advisor (ELA)


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Articles inside

Eliminating Bad Breath

2min
page 58

Employee Profile

3min
page 23

FLC Staff Celebrates

3min
pages 12-13

QC Today

11min
pages 8-11

Recap of Florida City Government Week

17min
pages 48-57

On the Road Again

3min
pages 59-60

The Business of Body Language

4min
page 47

Video Competition Winners

3min
pages 42-43

Exploring Infrastructure Win

9min
pages 44-46

Not All Debt is Bad

8min
pages 40-41

Redistricting at the City Level

6min
pages 38-39

Electric Vehicle Case Study

3min
page 37

The Advo-Kit

3min
pages 24-25

History of the League

9min
pages 32-34

City Puts Its Heart in Art

4min
pages 16-17

Online Tool Tracks Legislation

5min
pages 28-29

ARPA Final Rule Released

4min
pages 35-36

Small City, Immense Amenities

5min
pages 14-15

Downtown Enhanced, History Preserved

5min
pages 18-19, 22-23

Centennial Celebration

5min
pages 30-31
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