Quincy commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance on second reading, annexing land into the city that encompasses the IFAS Research Station campus on Pat Thomas Parkway at I-10 at their meeting on Tuesday, March 10th.
“The University of Florida IFAS facility is a world-renowned center for agricultural research and education in north Florida. The annexation of this property will place the city’s boundary prominently on I-10 and give the city the limelight and visibility it needs. The annexation…will give the city crucial highway presence,” states the ordinance proposal.
The board also unanimously approved on first reading an ordinance changing city structure back to a magistrate-led code enforcement unit and abolishing the code enforcement board.
Street closures were approved by the commission for the city’s annual QuincyFest Celebration to be held Saturday, May 3rd. North Adams St. between US 90 and King St., North Madison St. between US 90 and King St., Franklin St. between Monroe St. and Duval St. and Washington St. between Monroe St. and Duval St. will be closed until 8:00 p.m.
After much discussion, the board voted 3-2 to approve a request from the NFEDC to use Tanyard Creek Park on Mother’s Day, May 10th. Under debate were the fees to be paid by the organization ($800) that parks director Greg Taylor said were non-profit fees set by the former city manager and for security services to be provided.
“I have a concern about the professional promotional event. That (fee) is supposed to be $10,000, not $800,” said commissioner Derrick Elias.
The company is hiring a private security firm from Atlanta to handle the expected crowd of 2,500 to 4,000, said Dexter Allen. The promoter of the event pays Quincy police for officers’ work time and the city then pays the officers, said Chief Walt McNeil.
Micah Brown, Larry Edwards and Keith Dowdell voted for approval and Andy Gay and Derrick Elias voted no.
The city’s transit bus service contract ends on April 30th, and ridership is not up to the numbers projected, said Bernard Piawah, director of Building & Planning for the city. A shortage in this year’s intake of fares showed up as $1,894, he said, and Big Bend Transit is asking for that amount from the city and the county, who fund the rides that go around Quincy and also go to Havana and Gretna.
The board voted to ask Havana and Gretna to pay part of that amount as their fair share. The service would cease by 4/30/14 if the amount can’t be funded, Piawah said. The city and county currently each pay $36,000 a year to fund the bus service.
A proposed severance package for former city manager Jack McLean was stopped by a 2-3 vote, with only Larry Edwards and Andy Gay supporting its approval. A second round of voting approved it 3-2, after Derrick Elias changed his vote from no to yes on the previous vote.
Quincy commissioners and members of the community said goodbye to commissioner Larry Edwards and city attorney Jerry Miller at the meeting. Edwards did not run for re-election this month. Both were thanked for their service.