Lake City council discusses new cameras, monument

The Lake City Council held its regular meeting on Tuesday, discussing items from historical markers to the city manager search and a new camera system.

New camera system:

The council approved a plan to upgrade its camera system for $279,893. The new system would cover City Hall, Florida Gateway Airport, the utility annex, public safety, public works and other facilities.

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The city budgeted $180,000 for the new system and Matt Benedetti, Lake City IT director, presented two options to the council.

The one chosen by the council stayed on budget while still providing adequate coverage. The second would have overshot the budget by more than $136,000.

Benedetti said the second option provided more cameras and also different camera models. He noted that both options give better coverage than the city’s current system.

He added that there will be a three to four month wait between approval and installation.

Council Member Todd Sampson said the camera system wouldn’t cover the city’s parks like the council had discussed before.

“That’s crucial, I think, to the safety of the community,” Sampson said.

He added that he’d like to see a cost estimate for camera systems for city parks at the next meeting and said Benedetti should meet with the police department for a list of parks to include.

City Manager search:

The council received an update on its city manager search on Tuesday after its final candidate accepted a different offer.

Renée Narloch, who the city hired to lead the search, said she had already started reaching out and had opened the application in order to bring in more candidates.

She said some candidates had heard the news elsewhere and reached out themselves.

“We’re going to move this thing along quickly,” Narloch said. “We’ve got momentum. We’re not starting over from scratch.”

She will give an update to the council in two weeks and said she hopes to finalize dates then for first round interviews. Her goal is to have initial interviews within 30 days.

Sampson expressed concern that the salary the city’s offering was too low compared to similar and smaller sized cities.

Narloch said that could be. She added that she makes clear no candidate turns away from applying just because they’re in a $150,000 salary range instead of the city’s current $120 to $130,000.

However, Narloch said that $140,000 might be a more practical place.

New historical monument:

Christopher Esing proposed to the council the opportunity to erect a monument to the soldiers who fought in the War on Terror with special recognition of Lake City’s Lance Cpl. Ronald Douglas Freeman who died in 2011 in Afghanistan.

The council moved to have it brought back as an action item at the next meeting so the members could vote to approve.

The monument would go in the monument section of Olustee Park. Esing said the monument will be the same size, shape and color as the other war memorials there.

He added that the hope is to erect it on Memorial Day in May. However, if the monument takes longer to arrive, they’ll aim for Veteran’s Day in November.

The monument will cost around $5,000, but Esing said he plans to raise donations for the cost, adding that some people have already pledged funds.

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