It was a top-heavy nightmare of photo-op accolades at this week's municipal mind meld, beginning with the unexpected (but hilarious) impromptu call-and-response testifying to Bishop Allen T. D. Wiggins' heady invocation. Amen!
City chief administrative officer Byron Brooks then tried to make sense of the federal stimulus that might be coming our way by talking about grant writing and acronyms that would somehow include a children's museum and improved security for the Citrus (dust) Bowl. Everybody nodded on cue as if it meant anything more than "we'll see," except District 1's Phil Diamond, who pressed for answers but got more acronyms.
For humor's sake, District 4 commish Patty Sheehan added a bit about Lake Eola's newest swan, named Patty. "We want to keep Patty alive," she said. Really.
Item: The city approves an extension of its annual agreement with MC2, Inc. for maintenance of the automated temperature control systems at the Amway Arena.
Translation: Time once again for contract renewals! For this, its fifth year of temperature equalization, MC2 — a close cousin of "energy," says Einstein — is waving the flag of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, and demanding more money for its services out at the Amway. What sorts of services are required in a system that, by name, is "automated?" You know, maintenance. Anyway, when the city first signed on the air conditioners back in 2005, the yearly cost was $50,940. This year, the CPI-W is pushing the price for flashlight laborers up to a lofty $57,347, or $4,778 a month.
Item: The city approves an annual agreement with KONE Inc. for escalator maintenance services at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Translation: Speaking of nobody there, the Citrus Bowl boasts nine "highly complex triple banked escalators, which are of an extremely sophisticated and unique design." Fancy! But they probably turn them off for the 350 or so days a year that nobody's there, right? Considering that the manufacturer, KONE, is commanding a monthly maintenance fee of $5,524, it would seem that dull hum of mechanical futility is left on an endless loop for nobody to see or hear. Still, a yearly cost of $66,288 is some serious fountain coin to toss at existential futility … or sports.
Item: The city approves an extension of its annual purchase agreement with Fann Emblem & Embroidery Company Inc. for printed and embroidered shirts, shorts, caps and miscellaneous apparel.
Translation: Like the Mousketeers before them, city employees rely on the cult of uniformity to get through their workaday, civic-assembly-line lives. Nothing makes you labor harder than the sweet hug of nylon-spandex-blend in off colors, after all, and a company man always sports the company logo if he wants to climb that ladder. But keeping the workers all properly clothed in this age of dollar-menu expanding waistlines can prove expensive. When the city first signed on with Fann in 2005, the corporate duds set them back $130,753 a year. This year, the cost has swollen to an unhealthy $275,000. Put down that cheeseburger!
Item: The city approves the closing agreement between the city and Lake Highland Preparatory School, Inc.
Translation: "This has been a very difficult transaction," grumbled District 3 commissioner Robert Stuart. Yes, it has. Since about 2002, the city has been in negotiations with Lake Highland Prep over some adjacent land the school has wanted to purchase. Now, after years of haggling over pollution on the lot, the city is anticipating closing on the deal by March 2. This is the last ironing out of issues, including the city giving up easements, the school agreeing to move its softball field for a road extension (which could involve the city paying Lake Highland $200,000), and, the city's going to get rid of that pollution. Someday.
Item: The city approves the first amendment to an agreement between the city and Housing and Neighborhood Development Services of Central Florida, Inc. for foreclosure prevention services.
Translation: In December 2007, the city council approved the disbursement of $125,000 from a community development block grant to Housing and Neighborhood Development Services of Central Florida. The counseling agency "needs additional time," seeing as they didn't get done what they set out to by the required September 2008 deadline, or that the housing world is falling apart and we're all homeless now. What, are they sitting on their HANDS Hooray for acronym firstname.lastname@example.org