Room to grow: Jacksonville council supports JEDCO initiatives, postpones issuance of COs

·5 min read

Oct. 16—The Jacksonville city council passed a resolution supporting the economic incentives of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation following its second reading during the Oct. 12 meeting.

The resolution provided approval to two categories of JEDCO expenditures, totaling a maximum of $925,000.

The first was for an amount not to exceed $525,000 for a matching grant through the Texas Department of Agriculture. The project proposes to revitalize downtown through sidewalk and lighting enhancements.

The second expenditure involves the façade, demolition and downtown redevelopment grant programs of JEDCO. Since 2017, these programs have led to approximately two million dollars of reinvestment in existing commercial properties and the demolition of 11 structures, according to information provided to council by Sherry McDonald, JEDCO Interim President.

Council authorized a requested zone change for 2412 Lake Park Lane 1-Mobile Home Single to A-Single Family. No one objected to the change at a public meeting conducted by the planning and zoning commission, which subsequently approved the zone change. The change in zoning will allow the ones who made the request to demolish an existing mobile and build a home on the property.

It was decided by council to postpone consideration of the issuance and sale of certificates of obligation until Nov. 9. The certificates are intended to fund street repair and infrastructure projects. The postponement allows for the completion of an assessment and review of streets and related infrastructure to calculate the specific amount of debt that will be needed to address the repairs.

Every two years, taxing entities using Cherokee County Appraisal District to collect property tax nominate people to the appraisal board. The council chose, by resolution, Michael Banks and Joe Ballard as the city's nominations. Elections will take place in December, with results provided by the end of the month. Elected members will begin their terms Jan. 1, 2022.

An amendment to the contract with KSA Engineers, Inc. was authorized, allowing an additional $47,500 to be paid for work related to the rehabilitation of two 500,000-gallon steel ground storage tanks at the surface water treatment plant.

The original contractor went out of business before the project was completed and a tender agreement was assigned to Corrosion Eliminators for completion.

"The cost of the award to Corrosion Eliminators was an additional $183,569.15 greater than the original project," City Manager James Hubbard said. "The city has already received this amount from the surety."

The project completion is expected prior to the summer of 2022.

Mayor Randy Gorham questioned why the one storage tank which was sandblasted and painted needed to be done again.

"That particular tank, we discovered the roof will need to be replaced on it. When they replace the roof, they'll damage the coating that's been applied. What they've done, they sandblasted and primed the entire exterior of the tank. When they started blasting the interior, we discovered the roof was in poor condition," Jermey Orr, of KSA, said.

Having discovered the need, KSA requested a change order to replace the roof and it was about that time the original contractor went out of business.

Orr further explained leaving the work completed by a company that had gone out of business, rather than having a new contractor redo the work, could leave the city at risk should there be any future issues with the quality of the work.

The consent agenda was also approved.

Two special presentations were made at the meeting.

McDonald, on behalf of JEDCO, recognized Plastics Holding Inc. as Employer of the Month. She noted the company had recently completed about a million dollar expansion, adding approximately 3,000 square feet, constructing two storage buildings and adding a fire suppression system. They are currently preparing to begin 24/7 operations, according to McDonald.

Gorham read a proclamation declaring October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Lori Richard, of the Crisis Center of Anderson & Cherokee Counties, was present to receive the framed proclamation.

During the citizen participation of the meeting, two residents addressed the council.

Byron McCuin thanked the council for their attending to the items requested by residents at a previous meeting and noted some additional issues he and others in his neighborhood would like to see addressed, including additional stop signs. He also said there was an effort to organize a trash pickup day in November.

Gaylon Patterson expressed his displeasure at the water being cut off without notification and questioned why there wasn't some form of robocall to notify affected residents. He also spoke of the water pressure as his home being inconsistent.

In the city manager's report, James Hubbard noted the following:

—Jacksonville received the 2021 Municipal Excellence Award in public works for cities under 25,000 in population, specifically related to the automated water meters and advanced metering system;

—A large amount of utility work is occurring throughout the city, with gas lines being replaced in the northwest and western side of town and Verizon and Frontier installing fiber conduit for internet access;

—National Night Out was a special event with an estimated 3,500 in attendance;

—The city is investigating possible biking trails at Love's Lookout, and

—Cpl. Jeff Dockter would finish her service in Jacksonville this week and transfer to Bullard where he resides.

The Jacksonville city council holds regular meetings at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month.

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