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How to do business with local government workshop

PUBLIC INFORMATION:
Sept. 25, 2019

How to do Business with our Local Government Workshop Offered

The public is invited to join the Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of Commerce, the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, and the Escambia County School District for a free workshop designed for businesses to establish a working relationship with our local government.

The “How to do Business with our Local Government” workshop will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Hagler-Mason Conference Room on the second floor of City Hall, located at 222 W. Main St.

Participants can learn about registering their business, procedures for bidding and procurement, and future business opportunities with local government. There will also be an opportunity for participants to present their products or services. Featured speakers include Hosea Goodwyn from the City of Pensacola, Paul Nobles from Escambia County and Allison Watson from Escambia County School District. The presentations will be followed by a question and answer session and networking.

To register or for more information, please visit gcmcc.info.

The workshop is sponsored by Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of Commerce, City of Pensacola, Escambia County and Escambia County School District.

how to do business with our local government
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Next Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup Sept. 28

Next Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup Sept. 28

The next Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup day will be on Saturday, Sept. 28, allowing residents in the cleanup areas to leave eligible items at the curb to be picked up by City of Pensacola Sanitation Services free of charge.

Residents in the cleanup area must leave items at curbside by 7 a.m. on the day of the cleanup.

Please note that items left at curbside outside of the cleanup area will not be collected. 

This month’s cleanup area covers northeast Pensacola near Pensacola International Airport, generally south of Creighton Road, north of Summit Boulevard, east of 12th Avenue and west of Spanish Trail. Please see the cleanup map for details.

The cleanup includes bulk items only. Yard waste or garbage will not be collected.

Items eligible for removal include:

  • Household appliances
  • Household junk and debris
  • Furniture and mattresses
  • Carpeting
  • Barbecue grills (no propane tanks)
  • Bicycles and toys
  • Tires
  • Old paint and paint cans

Items not eligible for removal include:

  • Building materials (concrete, bricks, blocks, roofing, drywall or more than one cubic yard of lumber)
  • Household or pool chemicals
  • Herbicides or pesticides
  • Explosives or ammunition
  • Auto parts
  • Dirt or sod
  • Propane tanks
  • Garbage or yard trash
Please keep tires and paint cans separate from all other debris, and do not place piles under low-hanging lines or near poles, fences or mailboxes.

Through the Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup program, all city neighborhoods have a cleanup once a year during the months of January through October. In addition to Sanitation Services collecting items left at the curb, Code Enforcement conducts a sweep of the cleanup area and addresses any code violations.

For more information or to see the cleanup schedule, click here.

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Woodland Heights Performing Arts Night Scheduled for Sept. 18

Woodland Heights Performing Arts Night Scheduled for Sept. 18

Woodland Heights Resource Center will host a Performing Arts Night Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m., providing an opportunity for the public to help shape future performing arts programming at the center.

The community is encouraged to attend this informative evening to see live demonstrations and visit with local performing arts organizations. Woodland Heights Resource Center will develop a plan to form partnerships for future arts programming based on interest levels and participation.

Local performing arts organizations will be set up at the event to share information about available programming and showcase their talents to the neighborhood.

Woodland Heights Resource Center is located at 111 Berkley Drive. To learn more about the center and its programs, visit playpensacola.com.

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Reminder: City of Pensacola Budget Public Hearings Begin Wednesday

Reminder: City of Pensacola Budget Public Hearings Begin Wednesday

The first public hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget for the City of Pensacola  will be held Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, located on the first floor of City Hall, 222 W. Main St.

Visit the City of Pensacola website to view the meeting agenda and supporting documents.

The final public hearing on the proposed FY 2020 budget is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget for the City of Pensacola is available online, along with a Budget in Brief informational guide for citizens.

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Old School Building in East Hill Bulldozed to Make Way for Housing

Old School Building in East Hill Bulldozed to Make Way for Housing

Melissa Nelson Gabriel
Pensacola News Journal USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA

Crews last week started tearing down the former Agnes McReynolds School in East Hill to make room for an 18-home development.

Home designer Jesse Brodeur, a partner in the project, said plans for the soon-to-be vacant land at 1408 E. Blount St. will be presented to the city for review soon.

“We are in the advanced design and planning phases,” he said.

The school was built in 1938 and served as a neighborhood school for decades. In recent years, it was leased to the Jacqueline Harris Preparatory Academy before the academy moved. The school has been vacant for about a year.

The John Sunday Society, a group that works to save buildings of historic interest in Pensacola, drew attention to the school’s planned demolition in a recent Facebook post.

“Sadly, yet another historic Pensacola school building is slated for destruction,” the post read.

Derek Cosson, the society’s secretary, said the school was unique because it was one of the few examples of pre-World War II architecture left in the area. He said the group found out about the demolition too late to do anything to stop it from happening.

A demolition permit was issued for the building Aug. 27, according to a city spokeswoman. No development plans have been submitted to the city’s Inspection Services Department or Planning Department.

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Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup Collects Over 67 Tons of Bulk Waste

Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup Collects Over 67 Tons of Bulk Waste

The latest Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup collected over 67 tons (135,320 pounds) of bulk waste, along with 367 tires and 1,620 gallons of paint. The cleanup took place on Saturday, Aug. 31 and included over 2,000 houses in the cleanup area.

The Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup allows residents in the cleanup areas to leave eligible items at the curb on cleanup day to be picked up by City of Pensacola Sanitation Services. The cleanup includes bulk items such as household appliances, furniture and mattresses, bicycles and toys, tires and old paint.

Through the Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup program, all city neighborhoods have a cleanup once a year during the months of January through October. In addition to Sanitation Services collecting items left at the curb, Code Enforcement conducts a sweep of the cleanup area and addresses any code violations.

For more information or to see the cleanup schedule, visit the City of Pensacola website.

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Pensacola Fire Department Sends Resources to Assist after Hurricane Dorian

Pensacola Fire Department Sends Resources to Assist after Hurricane Dorian

Pensacola Fire Department has deployed an Engine Company prepared to assist with Hurricane Dorian recovery, contributing to one of the Engine Strike Teams pre-staged around the state as part of the State Emergency Response Plan.

A PFD Engine Company has deployed to Starke, Florida, joining other departments from the region including Destin Fire Department, North Bay Fire Control District, Midway Fire District, Okaloosa Island Fire Department, Walton County Fire Rescue, South Walton Fire District and Lynn Haven Fire Department.

The PFD Engine Company includes a captain, lieutenant and two firefighters, along with 72 hours of supplies. All State Emergency Response Plan pre-deployed assets are essential to post-storm lifesaving efforts.

“Pensacola Fire Department is proud to be able to assist our neighbors by providing potentially lifesaving resources during their time of need,” Pensacola Fire Chief Ginny Cranor said. “This is truly a team effort, with assets from throughout the state and the U.S. joining forces, and we are glad to be a part of it. We have sent a very prepared engine company and crew who are ready to help wherever they are needed.”

Pensacola Fire Department’s deployment is scheduled for up to 10 days, subject to change depending on the storm’s impact and the state’s needs.

The Pensacola Engine Company is assigned to Branch 3, which covers the northern part of Florida. Branch 3 also includes South Walton Fire District, Destin Fire Department and Lynn Haven Fire Department, along with multiple out-of-state task force and strike team assets from Mississippi, New Jersey, Indiana, Nevada, Arizona and New York.

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A New Episode of Our City News Show Is Available to Watch

A New Episode of Our City News Show Is Available to Watch

On this episode of our City News Show, John Scanlon and Allie Norton host the show from downtown Pensacola to talk about the celebration ceremony for winning the Strong Towns competition. They also introduce the City of Pensacola’s newest hire at Pensacola International Airport and give us a rundown of the upcoming Pensacola Senior Games.

VISIT OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL TO WATCH THIS WEEK’S SHOW

For more information or general questions, email pio@cityofpensacola.com. To stay informed about what’s happening with City of Pensacola government, sign up for email or text notifications through Notify Me or follow @CityofPensacola on social media.

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City Tree Case May Help Set Precedent for New State Statute

City Tree Case May Help Set Precedent for New State Statute

A heritage live oak tree the City of Pensacola is trying to prevent from being cut down has brought into focus the challenges of applying a new state statute that replaces local government processes for evaluating whether trees should be removed from residential properties to protect public safety. The tree, which is located at 605 N. Spring St., is at risk of being removed at the request of the property owners, despite multiple expert opinions finding it to be healthy.

Along with filing a declaratory judgment action in an effort to save the tree, the city has raised some questions to the court in hopes of getting clarification about how to interpret the new state statute.

The City’s Code provides for removal of dangerous trees and protection for certain trees that are healthy. The new state law delegates to professional arborists and landscape architects the duty to determine if a tree is unsafe, but it does not specify the documentation needed to make that determination. How that decision is made and whether it is objective are among the questions posed in the city’s declaratory judgment action.

The heritage live oak at 605 N. Spring St. is protected under City Code, but the property owners have an expert who has prepared an opinion letter to support the tree’s destruction. It is the city’s position that no tree should be destroyed unless an objective determination has been made that failure of the tree is imminent, which is consistent with the objective tree risk assessment process used by the International Society of Arborists.  The ISA tree risk assessment process identifies how likely it is that a tree will fail, which part of the tree will likely fail, what will be impacted by that failure, and how severe the damage will be to the targets identified.

As was stated by the property owners’ expert, an ISA arborist, “only God knows” when the heritage live oak at 605 N. Spring St. will fail. He said it could be 100 years before the tree falls. This expert did not provide a completed ISA risk assessment to support the conclusion that the tree should be destroyed.

The city is seeking to understand the most sensible application of the new state law in hopes of preventing heritage trees from being removed unnecessarily in the future, because no notice is required before a tree is destroyed.

Because the statute uses the term “danger” to define a tree’s level of risk, it is unclear how to determine which trees should be destroyed, since experts do not use the term “danger” to evaluate trees. If a tree is so damaged its failure is imminent, then it makes sense to forego a bureaucratic process and allow a tree to be removed without an application or permit.

In order to trust the conclusion that a tree’s failure is so likely that it should be destroyed, the city has argued that an objective assessment pursuant to ISA standards should be completed prior to the tree’s removal.

The City of Pensacola strives to have practices that respect individual property rights and  are not burdensome on property owners, but the city also places value in protecting healthy trees from being destroyed. The hope is that guidance with this new state statute will not only help Pensacola and its residents, but also other municipalities that are looking for assistance with interpreting this law.

A temporary injunction is currently in place preventing the Spring Street tree’s removal, and a judge is expected to determine soon whether the injunction to protect the tree will remain in force.

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Maryland Case May Determine Fate of Cross

Jim Little

Pensacola News Journal USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA

The fate of Pensacola’s Bayview Park cross may come down to how federal judges in Atlanta interpret a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a century-old cross in Maryland.

Attorneys for both sides of the Pensacola cross lawsuit filed new legal arguments in federal court Friday, making their cases for why the cross should stay or go based on the new high court ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision in June that a 40-foot cross erected in 1919 as a World War I memorial on public land in Maryland did not violate the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. The court noted the Bladensburg cross had been standing for a century and served a secular purpose.

Shortly after that ruling, the high court kicked the Pensacola cross case back down to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, instructing the appeals court to rehear the case in light of the Maryland case.

The fate of Pensacola’s Bayview Park cross will come down to how federal judges in Atlanta interpret a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a century-old cross in Maryland. GREGG PACHKOWSKI/PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL

Attorneys with the American Humanist Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation argue the ruling in that case — 

also known as the American Legion case — does not apply to Pensacola’s cross. In their legal brief, they argue the purpose of Pensacola’s cross has always been religious and removing it is the only neutral thing the city can do.

“While there was ample evidence in American Legion that the public embraced the Bladensburg Cross as a secular war memorial, no such evidence exists here,” AHA attorneys wrote. “The City, and community members all plainly view this Cross as an expression of Christian faith.”

However, attorneys for the city argue the Bladensburg case means the appeals court must rule in favor of the city because Pensacola’s cross has stood in one form or another since1941and has become part of the city’s history and culture.

“Today, the City allows the cross to remain standing, along with over 170 other displays in Pensacola’s parks, not only to commemorate the City’s history and culture but also to avoid sending a message of ‘hostility toward religion,’ ” the city’s attorneys wrote in their brief.

The American Humanist Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit against the city of Pensacola in 2016 on behalf of four Pensacola residents who wanted the cross to be removed.

A U.S. District Court judge ruled in June 2017 that the Bavyiew Park cross violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause and had to be removed.

The city appealed the case with representation from the Becket Fund law firm, but the appeals court said it was bound to uphold the lower court’s ruling because of the Supreme Court’s previous rulings.

No hearing has been set for the case.

Jim Little can be reached at jwlittle@pnj.com and 850-208-9827.