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COLUMN

Council watch

Billy Manes pays attention to city government so you don't have to

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Welcome to our shiny new edifice of stapled extrapolation! Along with these improvements comes an earlier press day, meaning that we can't fall asleep in the Orlando City Council meetings on Mondays anymore as we have for the past seven years. Horrors! Instead, we'll be highlighting some of the agenda items up for vote and keeping you informed as best we can right here. Oh, it's the least we can do.

The city approves an agreement with Turner Construction Co.
Translation: The world let out a cough of bemusement last spring when it was revealed that hidden within the shiny new Amway Center was a dirt-floored dustbowl of undeveloped space that was supposed to be a restaurant. Then everyone cheered when it came to light that a group called GRAT LLC – representing NBA City out at Universal CityWalk and a former manager of the old arena's Montecristo Club – wanted to develop the space into "The Club at NBA City," a sort of high-end, 4,000-square-foot exclusive dining space with booze. Well, guess what? GRAT defaulted on the development halfway through, and now the city will have to reimburse Turner Construction $673,484 for the work it already did, adding $65,000 for the company to complete the job.

The city approves an agreement for local funding of a railroad track rehabilitation by and between Florida Central Railroad Co. and the city.
Translation: Last year, crappy old freight line Florida Central Railroad excitedly announced that it had identified $18.4 million in track improvements that could expand rural transmission of goods through Central Florida. The Florida Department of Transportation jumped up and said that it would cover $13.8 million of that if the municipalities involved (along with railroad company) could come up with the other $4.6 million. Florida Central will throw in $1.2 million, the county already agreed to pony up $340,000, and Orlando agreed to write a check for $37,905. Lake County, allegedly, will somehow manage the rest. Apparently, this is going to run along the same path as SunRail, which means if you're drunk, you might end up a boxcar hero by accident.

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