CEO 77-181 -- December 14, 1977
VOTING CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COUNCILMAN PARTICIPATING IN DISCUSSION AND VOTING ON MEASURE AFFECTING SHOPPING CENTER OWNED BY HIM
To: Nola F. White, City Clerk, Punta Gorda
Prepared by: Phil Claypool
1. Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were a city councilman to step down from his seat and speak on his own behalf as a property owner and citizen on a measure that would affect the amount of fees paid to the city by a shopping center owned by him?
2. What is the standard of duty for a city councilman relative to his participating in discussion and voting on a measure that would affect the amount of fees paid to the city by a shopping center owned by him?
Question 1 is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry and in a telephone conversation with our staff, you advise that Mr. B. C. Fitzgerald, a member of the City Council of the City of Punta Gorda, owns a 99-year lease on land upon which he has constructed a shopping center. Pending before the city council is a measure which would allow for the waiver by the city in certain cases of payments of impact fees, fees which are charged by the city and placed into an escrow account to increase the capacity of the city's sewer plant. In addition, you advise that if this measure passes, the shopping center owned by the subject city councilman would not be required to pay these impact fees to the city.
Based upon the rationale to question 1 of a previous opinion, CEO 77-119, a copy of which is enclosed, we answer this question in the negative.
As to question 2, as reflected in the rationale to question 2 of CEO 77-119, in this situation the subject city councilman has two alternatives: He may exercise his right to vote in spite of his conflict, whereupon he should file a Memorandum of Voting Conflict (CE Form 4), or he may abstain from voting on the matter, in which case he is not required to file any disclosure.