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Week-old 4-way stop to go

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By Ada Lang

 Mayor Heath Davis says he is “getting heat” for the four-way stop lines that were placed at the intersection of State Road 24 and Second Street, so they will be coming up.

By a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Sue Colson dissenting, the City Commission, which also met as the Community Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday, approved removing the lines that went down a week ago.

Davis said, “They did it years ago (a four-way stop),” and “accidents rose.” However, that claim was not substantiated by Police Chief Virgil Sandlin or members of the audience.

The complaints come on top of escalating “complaints” about the curb that was placed in front of the post office to allow more on-street parking and slow car movement through the lot in front of the convenience store and post office. 

This is the same area where pedestrians have to look for oncoming cars from three different directions before they can safely cross the wide opening. The commission voted again  to “take it back to the original opening.” 

Because cross walks aren’t on the plans, Davis told Public Works Director Josh Wilson to come up with one “to avoid things we don’t know about.”

“First the shells in concrete, then the curb, now the four-way stop sign?” Davis said. “They just kind of happen.” 

In other matters:

 During the CRA meeting that followed the City meeting,  two unnamed applicants to fill the empty position of CRA Director were rejected.

Chairman Gene Hodges questioned Wilson and Assistant City Clerk Teresa George as to whether they handle the Director's duties, and why the board would  hire someone in August with only two months left in the budget year. 

Hodges accepted Colson’s suggestion that he administer the CRA because he is also the chairman. The consensus was that Wilson would manage the employees while George will continue assisting City Clerk Frances Hodges with financial matters related to the CRA. 

Hodges suggested that Wilson and George be paid “a little extra for the extra work.” However, Davis disagreed, and the matter was dropped. 

• The commission voted to interview three of the candidates who applied for the position of city attorney: Holly Blumenthal, Byron Flagg and Norm Fugate. David Coffey resigned from the position in May to pursue other projects in Alachua County.

• Commissioner Scott Dennison presented his research into the availability of a grant for over $300,000 that would allow the city to build its own cell tower, operated by American Tower company.  The grant would also require an investment of about $25,000 by the City/CRA.

Neither the city or American Tower has been able to secure a commitment from any cell phone provider to rent the space on a tower, should one ever be built , and Davis asked, “If a company in the cell business is not interested in doing it as a business, then why should we?” And the matter was dropped.

Finally, following an update by Wilson on the status of  past due marina leases, he was given the authority to terminate the delinquent leases, including one that is at least $1,000 in arrears.