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Mary Lynda Williams

Mary Lynda Williams

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(Photo/Jarine Dotson)

At Monday night’s City Commission meeting, Commissioner Nancy Besore expressed her sorrow on the passing of former city commissioner Mary Lynda Williams, who served on the Commission from 2008 to 2012. Later, Besore shared that Ms. Williams loved serving on the Commission. Besore reflected, “Mary Lynda was very kind and encouraging to me. She taught me skills in canvassing neighborhoods in 2009, my first encounter with running for office. She was a wonderful friend to Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center. She served as liaison between the Center and the Commission during her service. She loved parades, our tree lighting, the Mayor’s Breakfast…” Besore participated in the Florida League of Cities training for Public Officials on Ms. Williams’ recommendation– another example of Williams being a mentor and role model. “It was,” Besore said, “a joy serving with her.”

Mary Lynda Williams and I had the opportunity to work together for several years when we were both Commissioners. I always admired her independent voice and desire to make decisions that were best for Safety Harbor. She was a true public servant and will be missed.

Joe Ayoub, Mayor of Safety Harbor

Janet Hooper, Executive Director of Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center and a former city commissioner, recalled Ms. Williams as “always thoughtful, kind-hearted. Always tried to do the right thing, the best thing.” Ms. Williams was a commissioner when Hooper began working at Mattie Williams and Ms. Williams was instrumental in having a community walk for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Hooper said that Ms. Williams “believed in the importance of recognizing the diversity of our community.” Hooper recalled that when she joined the Commission, Ms. Williams set an example through her dedication to her responsibilities. On being a Commissioner, Ms. Williams advised, “You show up–– you care about things going on in the community.”

By all accounts, that is exactly what Mary Lynda Williams did. Hooper said Ms. Williams attended every event. Whether through attending events, researching and working through difficult issues, making donations and bringing coupons to Mattie Williams, and, ever year until more recently, delivering food and gifts to Safety Harbor’s senior citizens for the Christmas holiday. “She was very caring and giving,” Hooper said, “She wanted to recognize everyone.”

Ms. Williams’ obituary can be found on the Dignity Memorial website. According to the site, a service will be held at 10 am on June 6 at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park. Ever dedicated to the residents of Safety Harbor, Ms. Williams asked that donations in her memory be made to Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center.

Commission Notes: June 3, 2019

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Safety Harbor City Hall (Photo/Kathryn Malaxos)

A short one! Shorter than it appears to be here!

Audience to be Heard (on non-agenda items)

Resident Frank Pattison shared concerns about the dog park at City Park. He reported that a large dead tree lost a limb over the weekend and this was removed from the dog park area by residents. Pattison wanted the City to be aware due to safety concerns. He noted a need for more regular maintenance of the park, including fence repair, regular raking of the ground cover surface, and fountain repair.

Pattison shared that noise and parking overflow at Crooked Thumb can be problematic, including parked cars blocking the fire hydrant, and suggested this be monitored.

Pattison inquired about extension of the brick pavers along 7th Street South. Public Works Director Ray Boler shared that a design project is scheduled for extension of the brick pavers in that area.

Consent Agenda

Approval of Minutes from the previous Commission meeting on May 20 passed, 4-0.

Public Hearing

The Commission passed Resolution 2019-07, 4-0 (with correction of a tiny typo on page two), asking Governor DeSantis to veto CS/HB 1159. The Bill, specifically about private property rights and tree ordinances, would give the state government authority over these issues and is at odds with the concept of Home Rule. (More on Home Rule from the Florida League of Cities here.)

Municipalities shall have governmental, corporate and proprietary powers to enable them to conduct municipal government, perform municipal functions and render municipal services, and may exercise power for municipal purposes except as otherwise provided by law.

The Florida Constitution, Article VIII, Section 2(b)

Ray Boler noted that other local cities are also encouraging a veto of CS/HB 1159. Cliff Merz shared appreciation for the Commission having a meeting in order to discuss the Resolution, as this item may come before the Governor prior to the next City Commission meeting.

Earlier this month as reported by the Tampa Bay Times and others, DeSantis vetoed a bill that would have prohibited local governments from banning plastic straws, a move appreciated by both environmentalists and Home Rule advocates.

Commission Reports

Commissioner Nancy Besore shared that a former member of the Safety Harbor City Commission, Mary Lynda Williams, has passed away. Besore acknowledged Commissioner Williams service and dedication to Safety Harbor. A memorial for Williams will be held at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park on Thursday morning.

Besore encouraged attendance at this Friday morning’s living shoreline planting event at Waterfront Park.

Commissioner Cliff Merz appreciated the Memorial Day Ceremony sponsored by VFW Post 10093 – Safety Harbor and enjoyed the community Movie in the Park event for the premiere of Hallmark’s Love in the Sun movie, noting that it was “a nice opportunity and a good showing of the city and our community.”

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