Tourism, baggy pants votes to come later
By Stephanie Johns
There was standing room only at the last meeting of the Madison City Council. Those present heard discussions of a proposed zoning text amendment as well as tourism in residential zones. In the end, though, neither of those were voted on – both were postponed.
Also postponed was discussion of the proposed baggy pants ordinance.
Council approved alcohol licenses for the 2013 year.
Mayor Bruce Gilbert said some people have told him that the reapplication process for an alcohol license is “cumbersome” and asked Michelle Watkins, Business Services Specialist, if the city could streamline the process.
Watkins introduced Ashley Hawk, the new Business Services Specialist/Purchasing Clerk, who will take on that project.
City attorney Joe Reitman said the city’s process derives from state law. He suggested they look at what process other communities use.
City manager David Nunn suggested they also look at the process chain stores use.
Council unanimously voted to allow Gilbert to sign the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) intergovernmental agreement.
DDA chair Shandon Land provided council with a report of the DDA’s upcoming projects.
“In general we’re very confident the items on the report will happen,” she said. “You know our track record.”
Nunn reported on several transportation projects. The city is responsible for relocating the utilities when the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) moves the railroad arms at the Jefferson Street crossing. He said that the cost could be “quite high” but it is “an important safety concern.”
Squaw Creek Railroad will get an improved crossing. Nunn said part of the current crossing is “hideous” and rough.
As to downtown crosswalks, he said they are still looking at recommendations. The city will continue to push the GDOT to improve the more dangerous crosswalks.
Conversion of Hancock Street to four-way stops will start fairly soon, he said. He urged drivers to be cautious in the coming weeks.
Main Street Director Ann Huff said the Christmas Parade and Caroling by Candlelight events went well.
In other news:
City accountant Karen Guinn noted that while the city’s sales taxes are down 4.5 percent from this time last year they city is still on budget.
As to the council’s concerns about an abstention vote counting as a negative vote, Reitman said they would need to advertise proposed changes, hold two readings, and then vote. This was postponed until their January meeting.
No action was taken regarding a substantial interest as it pertains to council’s ethics ordinance. If a councilman owns $5,000 in a company, that currently constitutes a “substantial interest” and must be reported.
A Town Hall meeting to talk about Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) parameters, the recently purchased Gilmore property and neighborhood issues at large will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Paul’s AME Church.
Councilman Joe DiLetto, Nunn and Guinn will meet at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 18 to discuss standard financial operations for the city.
Printed in the December 13, 2012 edition