Gainesville city council holds May 9 meeting
The Gainesville City Council took up a fairly light agenda at its regular monthly meeting May 9. In addition to getting an update on the sidewalk and storm water drainage project on Third and Main Streets (see page 1), the council discussed these items:
• City Attorney Jessica Blackburn attended the meeting, explaining that the attorneys who are working on the new sports complex project with the Gainesville School District has requested that the city sign a quitclaim deed involving the land it gave to the school district last year in a land swap (as part of that swap, the city now owns the land where the Hoerman Memorial city park sits). Blackburn explained that the quitclaim deed did not put the city at any risk or have the city giving up anything it had before; and it would help the process to simplify the legal description of the 14 acres of property the school has acquired and plans to develop into ball fields. The council voted unanimously to sign the documents. In the course of the discussion about the land, City Maintenance Supervisor Mike Davis noted that a city sewer line runs from the Airport Trailer Park across the school-owned field to a manhole that is located behind the former Real Life Church Building (land which the school has also purchased). Blackburn said that she would ask that a more specific description be added stating that the city would have easement for existing water and sewer lines.
• Davis requested that the city advertise for bids to have a company replace 720 feet of water line that runs behind Forge & Build (formerly Gainesville Building Supply). Davis said he got some estimates and expects it to cost between $10,000 and $15,000 (about $2,500 to clear trees off the land, about $2,400 for bedding material, $1,200 to $1,400 for pipe plus the cost of someone to dig it, bed it and trace the water on it). The council voted unanimously to advertise for bids for the project.
• At last month’s meeting, the council discussed discontinuing its contract with Cintas for city employee uniform rental and instead providing a clothing allowance to employees to purchase their own items or having a local company make t-shirts for employees. At that meeting, the council asked City Clerk Lisa Goodnight to find out when the contract with Cintas was up. Goodnight said the contract is not up until fall of 2024 and did not have any information about a penalty or cost for breaking the contract. The matter was tabled for discussion at another meeting.
• Davis and City Water Specialist Jessi Price requested that the city pay to put in a new fire hydrant on Second Street near Town & Country Supermarket. They explained that in the process of laying the new water lines down Main Street for the storm water drainage project, employees had to cut off the existing water line and cap it. Therefore, there is no line running to the hydrant. The cost of purchasing a new hydrant and installing it is around $3,000. Price emphasized that the hydrant was a pretty important one, as it would likely be the hydrant that is utilized if a fire broke out at Town & Country Supermarket, the back side of the buildings on Third Street, Clinkingbeard Funeral Home and other businesses and residences in the area.
• The residents of Plentywood Lane, a gravel road within the city limits, submitted a written request that the city adopt the road. There was some discussion questioning whether the road was already a city street. The council tabled the discussion while the city clerk and property owners looked for any previous documentation of the city’s ownership of the road.
• Sam Deatherage with Oasis Outdoor Improvements, the landscaper who holds the contract to maintain the city flower beds around the square, submitted a request to purchase more flowers to fill the barrels that are in the flower beds on the square. Dana Crisp said he didn’t think people noticed the flowers, and he believed they should just keep the money rather than buy flowers. Renee Schmucker said she would just like him to avoid anything that would grow big, like forsythia or crepe myrtle, because it can cause vision impairment. The discussion was tabled.
• Gainesville Mayor Gail Reich also reported that she’d planted some flowers in the new planter bed at the city-owned parcel on Main Street across from the rodeo grounds where the former Klayman dentistry building once sat. She said the first batch of flowers planted there were nipped by frost, but she planted another round and hopes they’ll do better.
• Davis spoke at last month’s meeting, indicating that a Gainesville High School class under the direction of Jon Wilson had helped the city with plasma cutting their water lids for end points to be installed for the water system. The council asked Davis last month to ask the teacher if/how the city could reimburse the classroom for supplies. Davis said Wilson didn’t have any specific request for items, and he said he was happy the job gave the students something to do year-round. Wilson said it was enough that the city appreciated the work the students completed. Davis said they’ll work with the class again next year to have more lids cut.
• Goodnight said that the position of SEMA floodplain manager is open if there is anyone who has an interest in it. She said that the city clerk has this job by default, but she doesn’t have the time to serve in the position as completely as she’d like. There is no pay, but Goodnight says that there is some opportunity to go to meetings and trainings in various places across the U.S.
• The council voted unanimously to advertise to hire a part-time summer worker, age 16 or older, helping with mowing city property and other jobs as needed. The job pays minimum wage, $12 per hour, and the city requires a clean drug test. (See ad, page 11)
• Davis told the council that he received a call from someone who was upset about the tall grass at the city-owned Hoerman Memorial Park. He said that the city has been mowing their portion of the park property, which lies below the circular roadway; and the school is responsible to mow all the grass above the roadway. Davis said he’d talk with the school to make sure they understood which part the city was mowing and what the school is responsible for mowing.
The next city council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, at City Hall.