There was something extreme playing out in District 4 commissioner Patty Sheehan’s region of the dais prior to the meeting starting: Her right hand flipped and flopped backward on the top of the desk before her whole body rose into an amusing pantomime. She was about to pop, but the viewing public would have to wait to see why.
“There are so many good things going on in the city of Orlando,” offered Buddy Dyer’s lower jaw before a full 45 minutes of awards and presentations, among them a Dennis McNamara Employee of the Year award to a dog named Tico and his police K-9 unit handler. There was also a baby present. A dog and a baby: council magic.
Then it was Sheehan’s turn.
“I think today is known as the agenda for District 4,” she said, oozing frustration, most of which was based on legal disputes involving a medical plaza. “Lots of items, lots of confusion.”
“It’s all messed up,” she added. It always is.
Item: The city approves an AirTran Airways development-incentive agreement and qualified target industry tax refund resolution.
Translation: These days AirTran is the stepsister airline known for its “low-cost” business-class amenities and charmlessness. But back in 1996, AirTran was ValuJet, and ValuJet was an exploding coffin if you happened to be on Flight 592 from Miami to Atlanta. One strategic name change later, they’d co-opted Orlando International Airport as their home, and now they’re looking to expand their headquarters and construct a 16,000-square-foot systems operation center that can withstand 150 mph winds. They’re promising 121 new jobs averaging $45K a year (pretty high for Florida, the city reminds), and they’re investing $2.2 million of their own money. Orlando wants to keep them here and is signing off on $186,000 in incentives and grants over a six-year-period to make certain that the City Beautiful is forever associated with “no frills.”
Item: The city approves a stipulated final judgment including attorneys’ fees, experts’ fees and costs with regards to four reclaimed waterline parcels owned by Florida Hospital.
Translation: Typically these eminent-domain squabbles involve grappling between the city and somebody ugly who owns strip malls. This time the city is going toe-to-toe with God, or rather God’s hospital: Florida Hospital. As it turns out, God is a wuss. The city appraised the four parcels of land it needs as permanent wastewater easements at $70,600. God took out his lightning-rod pen (and a lawyer with experts) to come up with an impressive $198,000 appraisal tornado. “Negotiation” resulted in the munificent God relenting, all the way down to $96,350. The city also agrees to pay the $10,000 in fees associated with the exchange, but that’s not even enough to buy God a pair. Related: The world is ending.
Item: The city approves an extension of its annual purchase agreement with Allied Universal Corp. for liquid sulfur dioxide.
Translation: Stinky! The city uses sulfur dioxide to remove chlorine from its wastewater effluent at the Iron Bridge Facility. The cost of sulfur dioxide – like everything else – is on the rise, hopping 8.5 percent from $359.10 per ton to $389.90 per ton in this, the fourth year of the city’s five-year contract with Allied Universal. It all adds up to an estimated $60,000 to be spent on buying what a volcano could give us for free. Why are there no volcanoes in Florida?
Item: The city approves Change Order No. 1 to award Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP for the purchase of liquid oxygen supply and a delivery system.
Translation: Well, at least air doesn’t trouble the cash coffers, right? Wrong. In October 2006 the city greenlighted a hefty sum of $177,450 for the purchase of liquid oxygen and the means with which to evaporate it. The construction of a Super Critical Water Oxidation reactor (super-critical!) required by state and federal regulations in processing wastewater sludge mandated the tossing of city money into thin air. Oxygen has gone up in price from $105 to $116 per ton as the super-critical project has been delayed for a year, meaning the city needs to top off its air-cash cache with another $26,350. Don’t begrudge the sludge, pudge.