Work session Public works
After a lengthy discussion about the code enforcement ordinances, the commission discussed reallocating public works funds with Public Works Director Tom George.
As George explained, the city previously expected to receive about $1.7 million dollars from the local option gas tax, but now revenues are anticipated to be $687,500 lower. Because of Tropical Storm Fay, the city also has unanticipated public works projects to complete.
While the city had appropriated $831,513 for paving projects related to damage during Fay, they expect to fall short of that number because of decreased revenues. George proposed that the city move $531,617 from the Second Generation Sales tax to cover the difference.
There is currently $11,541,950 budgeted for the Second Generation Sales tax.
The commissioner’s agreed to do this, and also discussed three other projects that would be funded through the Sales tax.
Mayor Linda Kuhn questioned whether a project on Oleander Avenue was necessary or wanted, as part of the sales tax funds were appropriated for it.
Commissioner Velma Williams was adamant that an Oleander Avenue extension project be completed, as it would provide an additional north to south exit for the Goldsboro community.
“Mainly we were concerned about having a road or a street that would get the people out of Goldsboro in the event of an emergency. Especially when there are times when an Amtrak train prevents people from crossing while traveling south or north,” said Williams.
Williams also noted that the project was supposed to be completed back in 2002, when the funds were approved. However, since RiverWalk required funding for completion, the Oleander Avenue project was put on hold.
Fort Mellon Park
Fort Mellon Park project manager Robert Beall briefly discussed the progress on Fort Mellon Park. Since the project was delayed because of Tropical Storm Fay, the contractor is requesting an additional 31 days to complete the work.
However, since part of the project is funded by a grant, the work must be substantially done by April 30 in order to receive about $400,000 in grant money. The commission decided to approve an $80,000 change order, in order to complete the project on time to receive the $400,000.
The change order was unanimously approved later that evening during the commission meeting.
Sign subsidy program
Next, commissioners discussed a proposed sign subsidy program as a compromise to the sign ordinance, which has caused many problems with business owners.
The sign ordinance required business owners to change their signs at their own cost. In addition to monetary challenges this posed, some business owners felt their current signs, which were adequately maintained, should be allowed to remain.
City Manager Sherman Yehl has been attending ongoing discussions with the Sanford Chamber of Commerce Sign Ordinance Task Force, which was formed to help remedy the issues that the sign ordinance posed.
Among Yehl’s suggested amendments to the ordinance was a subsidy program to help owners pay for signs they must change. The program would occur in phases giving owners 25 percent of cost through Jan. 1, 2011, 15 percent of costs through Jan. 1, 2012, and 10 percent of costs through Jan. 1, 2013.
The city would appropriate $200,000 for the program.
Kuhn, along with the other commissioners, worried that with proposed budget cuts for the upcoming year, the money should not go to private business owners.
Kuhn said, “I have a real problem expending $200,000 to pay private businesses to come in compliance with a sign ordinance that went into effect in 2003 when we’re potentially going to have to lay off employees.”
Yehl said his personal opinion was that the task force’s requests for the subsidy were not unreasonable, and he urged the commissioners to “just think about it.”
Demolition of Sanford Amtrak passenger station
Kuhn informed the commissioners that she had received a phone call from Congressman John Mica requesting that the city write a letter stating it was ok for the old Amtrak Station, located on W. 8th Street, to be demolished.
The station is currently owned by CSX, which has failed to maintain the property over the years. Kuhn said she intended to ok the demolition on the condition that it did not prevent a future passenger station being built there.
“We do want passenger service to be brought back to the city of Sanford,” said Kuhn.
Community Development Block Grant
After a brief discussion during the last work session, Assistant City Manager Kristi Aday asked commissioners which of four projects they would like to apply for a Community Development Block Grant for.
The options included Youthbuild funding, drainage improvements, establishment of a police substation on the east side, or additional funding for operation of Westside Community Center.
Last year, the city received $1 million of funding through the CDBG for the renovation of the Westside Community Center.
Commissioners decided to apply for the grant with the intentions of using the money for drainage improvements.
Commission Meeting Consent Agenda
The commissioners unanimously approved 10 items on the consent agenda, which included $10,000 form the Law Enforcement Trust Fund to replace uniform polo shirt for officers.
Also included were two special event permits and $25,800 of second generation sales tax for construction and surveying for the Cedar Avenue Truck Route.
The commission gave final approval to the Governmental Public Officials Ethics Ordinance, which expands the rules of conduct for all elected or appointed officials, including committee, board, and taskforce members.
The ordinance was approved on first and second reading with no discussion from the commission.
In a continued item, a storage barn outside of the The Barn was set to be condemned. The Barn owner Eric Timms said at a previous meeting that he would like to use the small barn as storage, and fix what needed to be fixed.
After talking with city staff, Timms agreed to fix the roof and paint the building, if he could use it for storage. Williams expressed concern because the shed stands at the entrance to the Goldsboro community, and provides an eyesore for the area.
Commissioners agreed to condemn the building, but hold for official condemnation for three months, pending the shed’s repair. While three commissioners approved the deal, Williams and Kuhn voted against it.
The commission unanimously approved an amendment to the Community Redevelopment Agency’s Rehabilitation Subsidy Program, which was only implemented during the last month’s commission meeting.
The amendment allowed for people without traditional financing to apply for the program.
After reappointing Commissioner Art Woodruff to the Seminole County Expressway Authority, the city renewed its lease with the Sanford Airport Authority. The lease will be for 50 years, with a renewal every 10 years.
During discussion of the lease, commissioners were worried that a 50-year agreement may hurt the city if changes occurred in the future. The 10-year renewal program was proposed as an alternative. Airport President Larry Dale said the terms of the lease were fine with him and the Airport Authority.