Vero Beach councilwoman hopes new form will resolve agenda disputes

VERO BEACH — Vero Beach City Councilwoman Tracy Carroll has a plan she hopes will help resolve the issue of placing items on the council agenda.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Carroll is expected to present a form she is suggesting council members use when submitting an issue to be placed on the agenda. “Council members can have the opportunity to do their homework before the meetings, to

adequately prepare for issues,” Carroll said in her provided back-up material.

The proposed form asks council members to provide a summary of the issue, list the public issue/need to be addressed, note any relevant City Charter, code references, or legal rules, and other information.

“Much debate in the last council centered on the lack of a specific method for introducing agenda items,” Carroll writes in her back-up. “If the public and interested parties are unaware of issues to be discussed, they have no opportunity to provide public comment. Inadequate notice to the public of issues to be discussed may be considered a Sunshine Rules violation.”

Carroll also argues that providing just a sentence or a few words as “back-up” does not adequately equip council members to research the matter and prepare for the meeting’s discussion.

Carroll’s request that the council adopt a form for agenda items does not single out any particular council member.

However, the last Vero Beach City Council routinely excluded items put forth by Councilman Brian Heady for lack of having back-up material.

Even after the organizational meeting last month, during which the newly seated council agreed to include supporting material with their agenda items, many of Heady’s items for tomorrow’s meeting do not have documentation.

One exception is an item listed as “Discussion of Crew Opportunities at Riverside Park.” The council member, as back-up, included an article about Sarasota County’s push to boost tourism by investing in rowing opportunities.

Heady’s agenda item does not include remarks about how the article pertains to the City of Vero Beach, nor what Heady proposes the council do.

By comparison, Mayor Jay Kramer’s back-up items include e-mails from himself to City Clerk Tammy Vock to be included with the agenda packet. Those e-mails reference the issue and explain why he believes they need to be discussed.

One agenda item Mayor Kramer has listed is in regards to using the city’s utility bill mailing for promoting non-profit community-based services.

The United Way has approached the city about paying for an insert advertising the organization’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

According to the back-up, the United Way hopes to use the VITA program to bring back more than $1.5 million in tax revenue to the city’s residents.

“I would hope this would be considered as an opportunity to help our local economy,” Mayor Kramer writes.

Neither Council members Pilar Turner nor Craig Fletcher placed any individual items on the agenda for this week’s meeting.

The Vero Beach City Council meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at Vero Beach City Hall on Tuesday.

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