By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
A smoking ban ordinance was approved during Tuesday’s regular Gainesville City Council meeting, set to take effect within 30 days.
Council members formally adopted the ordinance, which regulates smoking in public places within city limits and bans it in most indoor public places as well as in city parks and facilities. During their final discussion of the ordinance, council members removed e-cigarettes from the ban, a factor in question during recent meetings. Under the terms of the ordinance, e-cigarettes are still permissible in the areas where regular cigarettes are not.
Mayor Jim Goldsworthy and other council members credited the ordinance as community progress — an improvement for public health and safety. The new ordinance in its full verbage can be viewed online at www.gainesville.tx.us, under “City Code” and then “Newly Adopted Ordinances.”
Other meeting highlights:
• Goldsworthy read a certificate of recognition and presented “Star of North Texas” medallions to Gainesville Independent School District administrators Dr. Jeffrey Brasher, David Glancy, Terry Ashby, Courtney Stevens, Tammy Fuhrmann, Sharon Norwood and April Waggoner. The award recognizes their educational leadership in the community.
• Council members approved amendment to city personnel policies and procedures, reducing the minimum age requirement for seasonal and temporary employees to age fifteen (15), and exempting seasonal and temporary employees from the nepotism policy. City Manager Barry Sullivan said the changes deal mainly with the hiring process for the lifeguard positions at the swimming pool. Reduction of the minimum age is anticipated to increase the number of eligible applicants, and excluding these seasonal and/or temporary employees from the nepotism policy will allow hiring applicants who are related to current full time employees, temporary seasonal employees, and elected officials of the city.
• Council members authorized Texas CES, Inc., to drill a well to be used for training and equipment testing purposes on location at the National Industrial Complex on North Interstate 35 inside the city limits of Gainesville. The company provided the city with verification/certification the well will be cased and cemented and there will be no contamination of the water supply. Council’s approval is contingent upon Texas CES meeting all requirements from the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; and requires Texas CES to acquire all permits required by the city’s community development department. City code requires city council approval to drill a well inside the city limits.
• Council recognized the important role of public works personnel in keeping city basic infrastructure working; special recognition was given to the late Gary Schumacher, who dedicated 25 years (1988-2013) to the city and its citizens.
• Council presented a proclamation to Allen Phillips and Jan Autry of the Gainesville Texas Travel Information Center in recognition of “National Travel and Tourism Week.”
• Council approved re-appointments of Judy Ann Wheeler, Peggy Holt and Keith Clegg to the Gainesville Housing Authority Board. All will serve terms expiring in April 2015.
• Keith Rigsby and Jody Henry reported on the mission, goals, and progress of the Joint Neighborhood Task Force, recently created to improve the visual appearance and safety of neighborhoods in the city that are in most need of improvement. The program utilizes a multi-department approach to focus efforts to address each issue that causes neighborhoods to fall below standards. The program started with the old middle school neighborhood, which has been significantly improved.
• Council authorized purchase of a 2013 John Deere 130G hydraulic thumb excavator for the city’s solid waste division through the “Buyboard” local government purchasing co-op. The equipment is to be purchased from RDO Equipment ($134,568.63), and will be used at the transfer station to prepare municipal waste for transporting to the landfill.
• Council adopted ordinance rezoning the properties identified as 1219, 1221 and 1223 S. Clements St. from the status of “Restricted Commercial” (C-1) to “Single-family Two” (SF-2). The properties are abutted to the north, south, and west by Restricted Commercial (C1) and by Single-Family Two (SF-2) to the east. The city’s planning and zoning commission recommended approval for the zoning district change. Applicant/property owner Barney Gilbreath requested the rezoning to allow for residential housing in order to sell the properties.
• Council approved re-zoning of the property identified as 1427 Throckmorton St. from “General Commercial” (C-2) to “Multi-family Low Density” (MF-1). The property is abutted by general commercial (C2) zoning districts on all sides. The planning and zoning commission recommended for council approval. The zoning change allows for two to four unit buildings. Councilwoman Carolyn Hendricks made the motion to suspend the third reading of the ordinance and adopt the rezoning, stating that duplexes in that location would be good for the area.