City manager Jack McLean told Quincy commissioners at their May 14th meeting that there are a number of car washes operating illegally in the city and starting on May 15th, the city would aggressively enforce requiring such establishments to have valid permits and correct water disposal practices.
“State regulations say that the water cannot go into Quincy’s sewer system. Washes have to be done in a bay, collected and disposed of properly. State law has exemptions for residences but commercial car washes have to collect it,” said McLean.
Commissioners tabled until next meeting addressing the Florida Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE). The program, passed by 26 states including Florida, comes at no cost to local governments but gives property owners access to additional funding sources to upgrade buildings not currently energy-efficient to becoming so.
After one resident worried that people might lose their homes by borrowing for the upgrades, McLean said no one can access the program without the local government subscription. Another resident said it sounded like a good program. “I have an old house and can’t afford to get solar. You’d save the costs in utilities across the years,” said Johnny Clark.
Commissioner Derrick Elias once again brought up his desire to have traffic-calming devices installed at Tanyard Creek Park. “I’ve tried every way possible to have people be able to use the park safely. Either keep the gates closed or put speed bumps in,” said Elias.
The city has kept park gates closed to vehicle traffic for a testing period. “Keeping the gates closed worked for me,” said Elias.
City manager Jack McLean said many people were concerned that the park had been closed when the gates were closed. Recreation director Greg Taylor said the gates have been closed 24/7. “We received more complaints about the gates being closed than we did about people speeding. We have a whole spectrum of people complaining now,” said Taylor.
The matter was tabled until the board’s next meeting.
McLean told the board that the Florida Dept. of Community Planning wants to create and fund a master plan for downtown Quincy. A $50,000 grant request to fund the master plan was approved by the board. The Quincy Bypass will divert commercial vehicle traffic away from downtown, said McLean. The master plan would enhance the city’s efforts to get additional visitors to the city, he said.
The Quincy Bus Shuttle, which operates to and from Quincy to Havana and Gretna, has reduced its fare to $1.75 per ride and has a new schedule, said McLean. The schedule will be published in both The Herald and the Gadsden County Times, he said. "Both city managers' offices have received the information and we are distributing it to churches. We want to get as much out as possible,” said planning director Bernard Piawah.
Quincy commissioners heard from Steven Slade of the Big Bend Police Benevolent Association declaring the organization was filing an unfair labor practice against the city for its failure to negotiate with the association. Quincy attorney Larry White said the city needed to hold an attorney-client meeting to discuss the situation.
“There was a misunderstanding. I contacted them and emailed them back in early April. We met on May 3rd. They presented a proposal and we’re evaluating it. We will resolve the unfair labor practices issue,” said White.