Kilton was announced as new mayor and Jason Jones now official commissioner
It was an unprecedented city commission meeting as Nate Kilton was announced as the new Plant City mayor, on June 13.
Kilton had the support of his fianceé and three children at his side as he was sworn into office.
“The way that I look at it is, this is a volunteer position,” Kilton said. “We are here to serve, and I just want you to know that I’m excited about this. I’m energized. I’m ready to take this on, but I also acknowledge that this is a team effort.”
He also requested Michael Sparkman to stay and serve as his vice mayor, which Sparkman accepted.
It was also a momentous day for Jason Jones as he officially took office as a city commissioner.
Jones is a former member of the Plant City Planning Board, and he too had his family by his side as he took the oath of office.
“Before I decided to file for this seat, there’s two things that I did: one is I prayed and then I met with my family,” he said. “My family was very supportive and without them, I wouldn’t be able to volunteer or serve in my community the way I have over the years.”
Traffic light installation
Plans are underway to put up a new traffic signal at the intersection of Alexander Street and Mud Lake Road.
Plant City City Manager Bill McDaniel was present at the meeting to report on the proposed installation.
“We have been working with FDOT on a number of projects, improvements and strategies around the community, and one of the things we’ve been working on is trying to improve the traffic flow and safety on Alexander Street,” he said. “Mud Lake and Alexander is the scene of numerous crashes over the years, and any of us that drive through that area, know we have a problem with traffic staging across that very large, flying, divided highway. The signal will remedy that.”
FDOT will construct the new signal, however the funding will be a joint effort between the city and FDOT, through the Locally Funded Agreement (LFA).
The city will provide $225,000 from its transportation impact fees, toward the $500,000 project.
What’s more, McDaniel believes that this signal will create a gap of the traffic flow between the intersection of Mud Lake Road and Alexander Street to the existing lights at Plant City High School.
One example that was mentioned was the signals installed at Park Road and the Interstate 4 interchanges, which have successfully reduced accidents.
“I believe it’s going to eliminate the issues that’s been going on and the close calls that we’ve had over the past years,” said City Commissioner Bill Dodson. “I look forward to see it put in place.”
Finalizing agreements with the city and FDOT was approved by the commission with a vote of 5-0.
First time home buyer program
As of June 1, an application process has been put in place for community heroes who are first-time home buyers, that will offer benefits.
Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program that can help our heroes receive up to $25,000 when purchasing a home for the first time.
Law enforcement, firefighters, teachers, and healthcare workers all constitute as community heroes and can apply for the program – which Florida lawmakers put $100 million toward, from the 2022-2023 budget.
City Commissioner Mary Mathis also reported that there is currently $365 million for affordable housing and she is making efforts to see that Plant City gets its fair share.
Applications are found at www.FloridaHousing.org/Programs/Homebuyer-Overview-Page/HometownHeroes.
City noise ordinance
Plant City Police Chief James Bradford took to the podium to address the dilemma of disruptive noise taking place within the community.
“One of the continuing themes throughout has been the issue of complaints of excessive noise,” he said. “That’s loud parties, boom boxes, etc., all taking away the quality of life in their neighborhoods. We took these concerns to heart, accessed the way we the police department, handle noise complaints, and found there are ways we could request a noise ordinance be amended to address these concerns.”
Bradford requested before the commission that the noise ordinance also pertain to construction or repair of buildings, excavation of streets and highways during late evening hours and early morning hours.
The proposed amended noise ordinance would allow these projects to be completed properly in times restricted by the current ordinance and also allow the police department to better enforce noise violations with use of civil citations.
It removes the exemption of motor vehicles on the right-of-way. It also exempts Pixie Rock and other events specifically designated as exempt by the city commission.
The Florida Strawberry Festival would also be exempt.
First violation for disruptive noise will result in a written warning. Repeat violations after officers explain the intensity of the noise levels will result in law enforcement using already existing way to enforce violations through civil citations, which will be handled by the clerk’s office.
The amendment was approved by the commission with a vote of 5-0.