The City of Melbourne recently received two national awards of excellence in recognition of its investment policies and financial reporting practices.
“These awards reflect the City’s commitment to proper stewardship of public funds, as well as the high quality work of Finance Director Michele Ennis and her entire department,” said Melbourne City Manager, Mike McNees.
In November, the Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada honored the City with its Investment Policy Certificate of Excellence Award. The award recognizes investment plans that are designed to safeguard city funds; have sufficient liquidity to ensure funding is available to pay for city services and projects; and earn a good yield on investments.
Also in November, the City was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The Certificate is GFOA’s highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
The Certificate of Excellence is awarded to municipalities with reports meeting the association’s high standards, including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story. An individual Award of Financial Reporting Achievement was also awarded to Michele Ennis, Director of Finance, for her leadership efforts.
GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles. The City of Melbourne has received this award each time it has applied for it in the past 25 years.
Holiday festivities abound this December in the City of Melbourne. There’s something for everyone: music events, special shopping nights, light shows, and more!
Unique Gifts Shopping Event: Friday, December 6, 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. Crane Community Center, 1440 Mosswood Drive, Melbourne. Free to attend. Call (321) 255-4609.
EGAD! Lights Up the Holidays Extravaganza: Friday, Dec. 6, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Eau Gallie Square, Corner of W. Eau Gallie Boulevard and Highland Avenue. Choreographed musical LED light and luminaries show, Santa and his elves, music by the St. Paul’s Methodist Choir and the Eau Gallie High School Band. Free. Call 321-574-2737 or visit EauGallieArts.com.
3rd Annual Christmas in the Park: Friday, Dec. 6, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Come celebrate Christmas in the Park with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy games, a bounce house, hayride, arts and crafts, face painting, tree lighting and caroling. Lipscomb Community Center, 3316 Monroe St., Melbourne. Free to attend. Call (321) 674-5725.
13th Annual Holiday Nights & Candlelight Shopping: Downtown Melbourne, Saturdays in December (Dec. 7-21), 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Shops remain open late and merchants will be serving special holiday fare. All evenings feature a variety of family entertainment. Free to attend. Call (321) 724-1741.
Melbourne Municipal Band Concert “Candy Canes and Carols”: Dec. 11 & Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m. Hear your favorite holiday tunes and sing along with this 80-member concert band. Meet Santa and learn about giving opportunities from representatives of local charities. Melbourne Auditorium, 625 Hibiscus Blvd. Free. Call: (321) 724-0555
Mother's Night Out: Dec. 13, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. An early Christmas present for moms! Let us pamper you for the evening by providing shopping opportunities from special vendors, facials, workshops, refreshments, and music. Lipscomb Street Community Center, 3316 Monroe Street, Melbourne. Free for moms. Call 321-675-5725.
21st Annual Melbourne Light Parade: Dec. 14, 6 p.m. Parade will start at the corner of Nasa and Airport Blvds., then will proceed south on Airport Blvd. and west on Hibiscus Blvd. Free. Free. Call 321-544-1777.
For more information, view a video from the Melbourne Police Department.
The Front Street Civic Center is located in historic downtown Melbourne at 2205 S. Front Street, Melbourne. Standard rental hours are 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Early entry is available beginning at 7 a.m. for an additional charge of $75.
Rental price includes use of the kitchen’s food warmer, microwave and refrigerator, as well as set-up and use of the center’s tables and chairs:
- 8 ft. banquet tables,
- 60 inch round tables, or
- 3 ft. x 3 ft. card tables
Options & Rates
- SIZE: 3,477 square feet
- SEATING: Up to 250 people (200-220 with dance floor area)
- COST (9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.): $524.00 + tax (Resident) $629.00 + tax (Non-Resident)
- COST (Mon-Thurs 3 hour block): $524.00 + tax (Resident) $629.00 + tax (Non-Resident)
The large room is located on the east side of the building adjacent to the river. Glass panel doors provide a view of the river and patio area.
- SIZE: 2,147 square feet
- SEATING: Up to 160 people (100-120 with dance floor area)
- COST (9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.): $359.00 + tax (Resident) $431.00 + tax (Non-Resident)
- COST (Mon-Thurs 3 hour block): $117.00 + tax (Resident) $140.00 + tax (Non-Resident)
The small room is located on the west side of the building. (It does not offer a view of the river.)
- SIZE: 1,330 square feet
- SEATING: Up to 90 people (50-60 with dance floor area)
- COST (9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.): $257.00 + tax (Resident) $307.00 + tax (Non-Resident)
- COST (Mon-Thurs 3 hour block): $84.00 + tax (Resident) $102.00 + tax (Non-Resident)
There is an additional charge of $50 plus tax (resident) and $60 plus tax (non-resident) for use of the gazebo. Clean up and trash removal are not included.
Book Your Event Today!
For more information and to reserve space for your next meeting or event, contact: (321) 674-5700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residential water customers residing within the city limits of Melbourne are eligible to participate in the city’s new rain barrel rebate program. By installing a new 50-gallon or larger rain barrel, qualifying customers will receive one $50 rebate.
In addition to receiving a $50 rebate check, participating homeowners will also save money on their water bills. By using rainwater captured in rain barrels for routine water uses such as washing cars, filling ponds and fountains, and watering plants, the average homeowner can expect to save about 500 gallons of water per month with one rain barrel. Savings are even greater for homeowners who have more than one rain barrel and use the harvested rainwater for watering large yards/landscaped areas and other purposes.
“People don’t typically realize how much water they are actually using for these activities,” said Environmental Community Outreach Manager Jennifer Wilster. “If we had 1,000 55-gallon rain barrels being used in Melbourne, and there were just 10 half-inch rain events in a year, 550,000 gallons of drinking water would be saved.”
In addition to helping homeowners conserve water, rain barrels also help protect the Indian River Lagoon by reducing the amount of rainwater entering the stormwater system. During storms, rain barrels capture rainwater that otherwise would have rushed off of roofs, onto paved areas and into storm drains. This water can then be released more slowly, which in turn decreases pollutant loads and increases absorption by plants.
Residential City of Melbourne water customers within Melbourne’s city limits are eligible to participate. An application and an original sales receipt dated between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014, are required. Only one rebate will be provided per residential account, and rebates will be fulfilled on a first-come, first served basis until funds are depleted.
For details about program requirements and to download the application form, please visit: http://www.melbourneflorida.org/watercon/rainbarrel.htm
Rebate application packets are also available by calling the Environmental Community Outreach (ECO) Division at (321) 608-5080 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Last week the City of Melbourne welcomed visiting city officials from its "sister city" São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil. During the four-day visit, Vice Mayor Itamar Coppio, Secretary of Economic Development Sebastiao Cavali, and Assistant and Translator Raquel Ito spent time with city council members and staff, and toured Melbourne City Hall and the Grant Street Water Reclamation Facility. They also visited Florida Institute of Technology, Embraer, Kennedy Space Center, and attended the Air and Space Show on Saturday.
São José dos Campos is the municipal home of Embraer, which has recently announced expansion plans for its manufacturing center at the Melbourne International Airport. The cities of Melbourne and São José dos Campos entered into a "sister city" agreement in late 2012 as a way to deepen friendship and mutual understanding between the two cities through educational, cultural and commercial exchanges with the goal of strengthening in ties of friendship between Brazil and the United States. The late October visit followed a July 2013 tour of São José Dos Campos by Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan, Melbourne Council Member John Thomas, and other regional officials and members of the Melbourne business community.
Landscape irrigation will again be restricted to one day a week when Eastern Standard Time begins on Sunday, Nov. 3. The restrictions apply to water withdrawn from ground or surface water, from a private well or pump, or from a public or private water utility.
Lawns need less water during the fall and winter, therefore healthy landscapes can be maintained by watering one day per week. Landscape irrigation will return to the two-day-a-week schedule when Daylight Saving Time returns on March 9, 2014.
During Eastern Standard Time (Nov. 3, 2013 – Mar. 9, 2014), the following schedule applies:
- Saturday, homes with addresses that end in an odd number or have no address
- Sunday, homes with addresses that end in an even number
- Tuesday, nonresidential properties
- Water only after 4 p.m. and before 10 a.m., and only when needed
More details and information about the restrictions and exceptions are available on the St. Johns River Water Management District's watering restrictions web page.
Volunteer board members were recognized during the City of Melbourne’s Annual Board Reception held October 29 at the Front Street Civic Center.
"Our volunteer board members provide countless hours of vital service to the City of Melbourne,” said City Manager Mike McNees. “The City extends its thanks to current and former members who have given their time and talent in so many areas."
The City began holding an annual reception in 1999 as a way to recognize and show appreciation for its volunteer board members. Approximately 150 residents serve on 19 standing committees that guide a range of city services from planning and zoning to golf courses to pension plans.
Charles Jackson, the city’s longest serving board member has served on the Board of Adjustment for more than 37 years. Volunteers who have reached service milestones of 5, 15 and 20 years were recognized with special pins during the reception:
Planning & Zoning Board
Donald Laird: 20 Years
Building Board of Adjustment And Appeals
Cris Patterson: 15 Years
Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
Joe Gassman: 5 years
Bill Levy: 5 years
Maryjane Wysocki: 5 years
Babcock Street Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Committee
Jim Ridenour: 5 years
Code Enforcement Board
Anna Cook: 5 Years
Christopher Nelson: 5 Years
General Employees’ Pension Plan Board of Trustees
Christine Brown: 5 Years
Lisa Brown: 5 Years
Rose Yeary: 5 Years
Historic Preservation Board
Thomas Funk: 5 Years
Police Officers’ Retirement Trust Fund Board of Trustees
Robert Walters: 5 Years
Zoning Board of Adjustment
Thomas Herbert: 5 years
The City is currently recruiting interested citizens to serve on its boards. To find out how you can get involved, call the City Clerk's Office at 608-7220 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public is invited to attend the unveiling of the first public art installation in the City of Melbourne, October, 17, 2013, at 5 p.m. in Campbell Park.
The sculpture "Vision of the Harbor Guardian" by artist Harak Rubio is being donated by Melbourne residents Jim and Jacie Stivers, who are also donating a portion of the installation costs. Each segment of the sculpture is symbolic of life in Melbourne and represents the city's natural resources and historical ties with a nod to its high-technology economy.
The Stivers initiated the project after their construction company, Certified General Contractors Inc., built the new city hall building in on Strawbridge Avenue in 2009. "Public art enhances a community and is a visual indicator to visitors and newcomers," said Jacie Stivers. "It is a statement about the culture in our community, and we hope that our donation will encourage others to follow."
The success of this project is due to the work of team of City of Melbourne staff and volunteers in addition to the Stivers. Tom Adams donated the engineering for the foundation. Zack Bo of Don Bo Concrete and Mike Hoffman of Florida Bulb and Ballast contributed services and items at cost. The City's Leisure Services, Facilities, Streets and Engineering departments and the City Clerk's office contributed several staff hours and funding to complete the project. The City will provide ongoing maintenance services, as well.
Harak Rubio is an internationally acclaimed artist who won the commission in February when Jim and Jacie Stivers distributed a call to artist across the nation. Harak's work has been collected throughout South and Central America as well as Europe. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and family. The sculpture was constructed at a Brevard County fabricator. This is the first time the artist has fabricated his sculpture locally rather than out of the country.
Campbell Park is located in historic Downtown Melbourne at 929 New Haven Ave. Melbourne Court between New Haven Avenue and Henley Court will be closed 4:45 p.m. -7:30 p.m. for the ceremony and reception.
Motorists with vehicles that require electricity can now fill up at a City of Melbourne charging station, the first one to be offered by a government in Brevard County.
The dual-vehicle charging station is located in front of the Eau Gallie Library, at 1521 Pineapple Avenue.
The location reflects the likelihood that motorists with electric vehicles will find it convenient due to the many activities and services in the area. The location also allowed a reasonable cost of installation, and the $15,000 that the city directed to the project was an FPL rebate from a previous energy project.
Julie Foster, the city’s Sustainability Program Manager, expects more charging stations will appear in the near future. Already, public charging stations are offered in the Melbourne area by a retail store and a hotel.
“The goal is to provide a resource to encourage the use of alternative-fuel vehicles,” Foster said. “People will feel more comfortable buying these types of vehicles if they know there is a place to charge-up away from home.”
Batteries that power electric and hybrid vehicles are usually charged at owners’ homes and businesses. However, depending on the type of vehicle, the range of travel before recharging is generally limited to less than 100 miles.
Foster explained that local drivers typically use the public stations to ‘top off’ the charge in their batteries when convenient, leaving the vehicles plugged in as they attend to other matters in the area. Motorists who arrive from a distance may require a full charge.
Use of the Melbourne station requires a $1 access fee, regardless of the amount of energy used. The system is maintained by ChargePoint, a company with the nation’s largest plug-in charging network. An online map points drivers to available stations.
Foster said the growing use of vehicles with electric power helps address problems associated with traditional fuels. “There is not a single, silver bullet solution to our energy problems,” Foster said. “We need to have an overall balance to achieve energy sustainability.”
For motorists, the emergence of vehicles that avoid or minimize the use of gasoline can greatly reduce costs of operation. Vehicle purchase costs are now competitive with prices of many traditional vehicles. The federal Department of Energy expects well over a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
Ongoing work to improve utility system finances is reflected in highly favorable bond ratings from Moody’s and Fitch, the two national services that measure financial well-being, said Michele Ennis, the city’s director of finance.
The city recently borrowed $12-million at an interest rate of 3.3%, allowing the multi-million-dollar savings through refinancing of 30-year bonds which had been issued in 2002 at interest rates of 4% and 5%. The new bond issue also provided about $5-million of new financing that is to be used on utility system improvement projects.
Further, the refinancing allowed the city to reclaim some of the added reserve deposits that it was forced to put in escrow during the financial market turmoil and the downgrading of the city’s bond insurer at that time.
“We have a strong, stable financial position in the utility system, and that allowed us to take advantage of the low interest rates,” Ennis said.
The utility system, which provides drinking water to a regional area, is funded by customer payments and is financially self-sufficient. Water and sewer rates are set by the City Council after receiving recommendations from consultants who calculate the revenue needed to maintain and operate the system. Utility rates are not being increased in the current fiscal year.
NOTE TO EDITORS: The official statement that provides details of the bond issue is available online at www.munios.com/id.aspx?g=C7RISK1AJ147K
Steven Graham, the City’s Parks Administrator, explained that the program developed by the Beautification & Environmental Advisory Committee is to provide grants of $500 to $2,500 for landscaping improvements, with the project applicant providing a match of 50%.
“This is the advent of the community-based beautification grant program,” Graham said. “The City has set aside seed funds to match the efforts of residents and community organizations to landscape and beautify our public spaces throughout the Melbourne community.”
Those interested in seeking a grant must complete an application form that is available online at melbourneflorida.org/leisure/parks.htm, and must agree to maintain the landscaped area for a year. Grants are to be provided as reimbursements after work is complete, with up to $12,000 in projects to be funded in coming months.
Applications are to be evaluated by the Beautification & Environmental Advisory Committee. The evaluations are to be based on the “Florida Friendly Landscape Principles” developed by the University of Florida’s Cooperative Extension Service. The principles offer recommendations based on factors that include plant selection, landscape design, soil preparation, low-volume irrigation, and maintenance practices.
Applications are to be submitted to the City of Melbourne Parks Division, 2895 Harper Road, Melbourne, FL 32904, or sent via e-mail to Graham at email@example.com. Interested parties can also request additional information via e-mail, or by calling 321-953-6230.