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City of Madison meeting Tractor-trailers discussed again

There was quite a lot to be discussed at the Madison City Commission meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

The meeting was the first to be held in 2016.

After the call to order, citizen Jackie Johnson stood and requested that the City Commission approve a $1,000 contribution to the Woman’s Club to go into a $4,000 purchase of a heating and air-conditioning unit for the Women's Club Center.  After a discussion, the City Commissioners denied the request due to the fact that City Commission minutes during the year of 1939 had already laid out the relationship between the City and the Woman’s Club regarding the center.

The center, while it is owned by the city, is under the custodianship of the Woman’s Club and that the previous minutes stated that the Woman’s Club will be responsible for the upkeep of the center.

The next item up for discussion was a declaration of surplus – the surplus being one of the narcotic-detection dogs at the Madison County Police Department.

It had been decided that the dog was not trainable for the purpose of drug detection and instead, the animal would be offered for sale to the Madison Police dog-handler who the dog had bonded to.  The dog would become a family pet with no police related duties whatsoever.

Next, the City Commissioners approved a resolution to support the Healthiest Weight Florida Initiative.  The initiative is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, not-for-profit organizations and entire communities to help the children and adults in Florida to make better choices about healthy eating and lifestyles.

The goal of Healthiest Weight Florida is to decrease the weight curve in Florida by lowering it by five percent by the year 2017 and the initiative is partnering with local governments in order to bring the collaboration into small cities and communities.

The Commissioners then directed City Staff to request Scott Koons, Exec-director of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council to hold workshops regarding the tractor-trailer parking in residentially zoned area.

There was major discussion during the meeting with input from citizens on both sides of the argument and the commissioners involved themselves with the heartfelt concerns and opinions of the citizens that they serve.

The purpose of the upcoming workshop that Koons will be hosting is to discuss several options that Koons has provided to the commissioners concerning the tractor-trailer parking issue that has recently embroiled the city.

No concreted decision has yet been made by the City Commissioners.

Mayor Ina Thompson briefed the commissioners about a community clean-up volunteer program and the commissioners agreed, by consensus, that the clean-ups would be handled by community organizations and churches.  It will not be under the sponsorship or coordination of the city.

Also coming to the podium to discuss volunteers was City Manager Tim Bennett.

Bennett briefed the commissioners about a new effort to recruit volunteers for city boards.  Bennett is preparing an application for volunteer to complete and turn in. The goal is to fill the current vacancies on city boards and to establish a database of potential volunteers.

Also of importance on the agenda were the commissioners approving a resolution that authorized city employees to be able to acquire loans from their employee retirement plan as long as all the required guidelines are met.

An Interlocal Agreement between the city and Madison County was reached that will extend, by a year, the county’s ownership of Harvey Greene Dr.

Approximately a year ago, the city signed over the maintenance of Harvey Greene Dr., through the Interlocal Agreement, to the county.

As a result, the county was able to gather all the funds required to re-pave Harvey Greene Dr.  Once it is repaved, the county will return its maintenance responsibilities back to the City of Madison.

The commissioners approved the second and final reading of an ordinance that extends the temporary moratorium on water and wastewater impact fees, meaning that residents and businesses will not be charged an impact fee for connection to city water and wastewater services as long as the moratorium is in place.  The purpose of impact fees is to place the financial burden of installation of new water and wastewater services on those involved in the new development instead of on current taxpayers.

Many items on the agenda are still under consideration, being researched or submitted, such as the request from a citizen to bow hunt on city property and a formal grievance from a family that owns one of the city’s renovation projects.

Fire/Rescue Chief Bruce Jordan and Police Chief Ken Moore provided their public safety reports before the meeting was adjourned.

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