The gears of government moved again in Kissimmee Tuesday night.
While City Hall and other front-facing city offices are closed to the public in order to stem the spread of COVID-19 from person to person, city business has been getting done, and the City Commission did it for all to see Tuesday, with its first public meeting since back in March.
It was streamed on Zoom for all to see online. They met, in chambers, with Commission members spread out across the whole dais to maintain six-foot spacing, with City Manager Mike Steigerwald and City Attorney Olga Sanchez de Fuentes at desks down on the chamber floor. It looked odd for a while, but it worked just fine, with flawless audio and video.
Over the weeks, a wave of zoning and land use ordinances and policy amendments built up, and they passes with little fanfare Tuesday. There was even talk of a future, beyond the coronavirus when downtown Kissimmee is vibrant again, with a discussion of expanding the outdoor seating for the restaurants at Broadway and Dakin Avenue.
At the end of the meeting, commissioners explained what they’ve spent the time since the last meeting doing. Olga Gonzalez noted work with church and community assistance groups. Mayor Jose Alvarez, who represents the city on the Executive Policy Group helping guide residents and the business community through the tough times the county-wide quarantine has cause. He spoke of an area-wide task force that includes Orange County officials that will find the best way to start re-opening the county if health conditions cooperate. Steigerwald said all city departments have been “doing a great job” of providing needed services despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even though the city is closed out front, the city is functioning without missing a step, and I’m proud of all our staff,” Alvarez said. “But now’s not the time to drop our guard, we need to continue to protect ourselves.”