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COLUMN

Council Watch

Billy Manes paying attention to local government so you don't have to

Translation:Everyone’s favorite overpriced Floridian grocery powerhouse, Publix – also, the place where we once saw a bag boy dressed up like a slice of pizza – has expansion on its mind. In this case, the food chain is looking to build out a 110-acre distribution center way out east of Goldenrod Road in the Lee Vista area. Normally, Publix would be responsible for the cost of extending the infrastructure – in this case, just over a half-mile of Hazeltine National Drive – to accommodate the project. By some fluke of luck or influence, the city is hoping to expand Hazeltine National Drive to a four-lane road, which (surprise) means that Publix will likely be eligible for impact fee credits. Meanwhile, the city has also turned to Gov. Rick Scott’s magical Department of Economic Opportunity for a $1.1 million infrastructure grant based on an expected 156 jobs being created at the new distribution center. The total projected cost of the roadway is $3.6 million, meaning taxpayers will be paying nearly a third of the cost of a road to nowhere. Also, the city will be responsible for “maintenance” of the facility. Publix owns Florida.

Item: The city approves a temporary-use permit to allow T.G. Lee Foods Inc. to store trailers on a southern portion of the Colonial Plaza Marketplace for a period of three years.

Translation:Speaking of places where milk comes from, old milky stalwart T.G. Lee – the folks responsible for the alleged Milk District in a roundabout way – has been storing its excess trailers at the edge of Colonial Plaza for years illegally, because it hasn’t had a permit. Now, in an effort to make good – and get code enforcement off its lactating ass – T.G. Lee is striking up a deal with the city to temporarily allow trailer storage for up to three years, during which time it will try to find a more suitable empty, sad parking lot. In exchange, T.G. Lee will provide some “landscaping” and promises not to look like an industrial-park nuisance.

Item:The city approves the 2013 Florida Department of Transportation grant-concept paper for DUI enforcement operations.

Translation: Last year, the Orlando Police Department singled out eight officers and assigned them to a DUI enforcement team that is supposed to “safely remove suspected DUI offenders and traffic violators from the highway by mobile, high-visibility traffic enforcement tactics” bi-weekly. The city is seeking a $100,000 state grant to cover overtime hours incurred by the team, because, well, everybody is drunk.

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