SRHS students report on Sebastian City Council for AP Government

SEBASTIAN — Sebastian River High School students in Chris Taylor’s Advanced Placement government class saw their city officials in action Wednesday night at the regular meeting of the Sebastian City Council. The students are reporting to Mr. Taylor everything they observed at the meeting and expressing their opinions on the commentary and the Council’s decisions, according to student Lindsey Wexler, who was invited to address the meeting by Councilwoman Andrea Coy.

“It was a great night for them to see diversity,” said Councilwoman Dale Simchick, adding that it was also good for them to see situations handled professionally.

Following roll call, the meeting commenced with the presentation by Mayor Richard Gillmor of an award plaque for Employee of the Second Quarter and a savings bond to Barbara Brooke-Reese, MIS Senior Systems Analyst.

The mayor then read an extensive introduction of Brooke-Reese, who began her employment with the City of Sebastian in November 2002, and has been instrumental in keeping technology running smoothly for the city, including working on Web sites, phone systems, broadcasting, dispatch, videography, photography, security, advertising and voting machines. Brooke-Reese is also involved in Student Government Day.

A Certificate of Appreciation was also announced by the Mayor for Frank Garland, former Construction Board Member, who was not in attendance at the meeting.

Without discussion, the council next approved the consent agenda, which included accepting the minutes of two previous meetings and approval of temporary road closures to accommodate two upcoming 5K runs. Indian River Drive will be closed from Harrison Street North to Jackson Street on Nov. 14 from 6:45 to 9:30 a.m. for a 5K Fund-raiser supporting the Sebastian River Middle School International Baccalaureate Program. The same road area will be closed on Saturday, Jan. 2, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. for a 5K Run Fund-raiser sponsored by the Substance Awareness Council.

The Sebastian students then witnessed an election as the Council voted on the appointment of two residents, out of five contenders, for two-year terms on the Police Pension Board of Trustees. One of the applicants was not in attendance at the meeting, but the other four applicants, Judy Bastian, Harry Tanner, Rick Taracka, and Robert Thibodeau, gave brief introductions and were nominated by council members.

Taracka, who has served in the position for four years, was retained in the position by the council’s vote. Harry Tanner, who has 20 years experience with the New York City Police and 18 years with a private New York City investment company received the most votes from the council for the second position on the board.

“If you were not picked this evening, we have lots of room for you on a board,” Councilwoman Coy said.

Mayor Gillmor agreed.

“We are overjoyed to see so many people applying in Sebastian and will appreciate your service on other boards,” he said.

The council then proceeded to unanimously approve a final adoption of an ordinance relating to unnecessary and excessive noise.

Prior to the vote, Tom Collins, of Captain Hiram’s, told the Council “to be cautious when curtailing business.”

Collins advised that for “every complaint, there are hundreds enjoying the music,” which contributes to jobs.

New business for the council included approval of a contract with Sunshine Land design for the George Street Ditch Rehabilitation Project in the amount of $77, 877 and acceptance of an airport lease agreement with NationAir Insurance Group.

Airport Manager Joe Griffin has been cultivating a business relationship with NationAir for some time

The company will lease a wing in the Airport Administration Building and also an airport ramp tie down. The lease amounts to about $8.50 per square foot.

“Economic development is something very important to this council,” said Councilman Jim Hill. “I look forward to many more deals.”

Citing that the airport space had been unoccupied for four long years, Councilman Eugene Wolff concurred.

“There are not a lot of people clamoring to get in there. Yes, it is cheap, but it’s part of the business plan to get them into Sebastian.” Wolff said. “If the market in five years demands higher prices, we will renegotiate.”

Mayor Gilmore closed the meeting with a promise of Sebastian Council pins for the SRHS students.

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