Quincy commissioners mulled over some issues relating to modular home foundations on Tuesday, February 25th.
Staff had presented the issue regarding the location of the homes because some citizens had expressed concern about their appearance. City manager Jack McLean reviewed the city’s administrative guidelines to identify any changes that could be made to improve their appearance. Building inspector Clyde Collins advised that modular homes would require a monolithic foundation or a solid foundation with a footer and stem walls to give the appearance of a site-built house.
A solid block wall foundation including brick would give the required appearance at much less cost of the project, said a staff report. In addition, a pitch roof would give the roof the angle appearance of a site-built house. The monolithic foundation is the most expensive form of foundation and would raise the cost of the home considerably. Both forms of bases for the house also require a carport. Modular homes would not be allowed in the historic district.
“Every home would have to be built on a slab, not with pillars,” said McLean.
“By state law, we can’t keep them out,” said Commissioner Larry Edwards.
A workshop on the issue was held on Tuesday, March 4th.
A special use request for All My Children daycare center at 359 East Jefferson Street was given unanimous approval at the meeting. City Planning Director Bernard Piawah said the owner of the facility had met all city code conditions and additional parking space is being leased from an adjacent building owner.
The board learned from Utilities Director Mike Wade that under a five-year contract for bulk power supply with FMPA (Florida Municipal Power Agency), the power company could review the contract and make changes, including rate increases as of December, 2013. The review could also extend the contract for two or three years. Wade said the city could accept FMPA’s offer; renegotiate the proposed pricing; or reject the proposal and issue an RFP.
City Manager McLean said the city has an additional option: to negotiate and also issue an RFP at the same time. “It gives better leverage at the negotiating table,” said McLean. “We’ve had a positive relationship both in administrative and operative terms,” he added. Commissioners voted to direct staff to begin negotiations and issue an RFP.
After reviewing the city’s budget with Interim Finance Director Jeff Williams, he advised the board that his staff is going over the Smart Grid expenditures all the way back to the beginning. “(I should be) ready (to bring back to the board) within a month. The Smart Grid has been going on for two to three years. Once I complete the analysis, I’ll be comfortable with the numbers as accurate,” said Williams.
The city heard from Emanuel Sapp about costs of Internet access from AT&T. “The city’s paying $5,100 a month for 45MB, for inadequate services. The taxpayers will be paying $3,100 a month for more services and 1GB throught Tallahassee. Quincy will be saving $2,000 a month for better and more services,” said Sapp.
McLean said, “Quincy is ‘Off-Net,’ which means it’s way more expensive. If we work through Tallahassee, we’ll be On-Net. We’ll get more and it will be less expensive. We piggyback off of Hillsborough County’s service. We jumped in there to get 1 GB at $3,100 a month. We are the last one who could do that. Now, we’re paying $5,100 a month for five years’ cost of $350,000. That would go down to $320,000 (for the five years) at $3,100 a month.”
“The school board pays $19,000 a month for broadband services and they purchase it Off-Net. If they were On-Net, they’d be paying way less than half of what they’re paying now,” said McLean. “It will allow us to be able to market broadband services On-Net and generate money, plus we’d get $72,000 from Tallahassee. I urge the commission to study this before taking a vote.”
“We need to put our personalities aside and think more about the citizens of Quincy. We voted to start the Smart Grid and knew then that we didn’t have enough GB. Part of Smart Grid increases our bandwidth and allows us to be a Level 3 provider, and to be one of the bigger providers in the world. We need to cultivate another source of revenues,” said Mayor Keith Dowdell. “This will put us on the map and give us additional money.”
The city voted 3-2 to cancel all operations on the broadband. Mayor Dowdell passed the gavel to be able to change his no vote to a yes vote on cancellation so he could bring it back up later. “We have a contract with the company - where does that leave us? I’m not comfortable with what I’ve heard tonight. I would rather workshop it than cancel it on first time of hearing about this,” said Commissioner Edwards.