By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
A proposed ordinance that regulates public smoking in Gainesville city limits gets a first reading during tonight’s regular city council meeting.
City Manager Barry Sullivan said the ordinance would prohibit smoking indoors in many local facilities and in areas such as city parks and carry a penalty for offenders not to exceed $2,000. Bars and some restaurants would remain exempt.
But the ordinance, Sullivan added, still lacks full definition and may sustain more readings before council members vote.
“I also have a feeling the council will request certain changes,” he said. “With these smoking ordinances, all of them are generally similar across the United States, but it gets into particulars. What do you consider a bar? How many feet from the exits? Is it no smoking at every entrance and exit or only the primary entrance and exit? It’s got a lot of things council will have to discuss.”
Sullivan stressed that the ordinance will likely be an agenda item for two or three more meetings — and that its variables will be in flux depending not only on official decisions but public input, which is encouraged.
When the smoking ordinance first surfaced during the regular council meeting of March 19, Mayor Jim Goldsworthy said he hoped to hear from citizens about it in the coming weeks.
“We want your input,” Sullivan said. “I can’t speak for the mayor, but since that meeting, he’s had one person talk to him about it. But we’re hoping that we get input from the public and we hope we make an ordinance that works for the area.”
Other items on today’s meeting agenda:
• Council will conduct a first reading of an ordinance that the city amends Article 1 of Chapter 5 of the city’s buildings and building regulations code.
• Council will declare April to be “Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month” in association with the local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) agency.
• Council will consider and take action on a resolution authorizing an expenditure to R. B. Everett & Company, Inc., for the purchase of one maintenance distributor trailer for the city’s street department.
• Council will consider and take action on a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute on behalf of the City of Gainesville, Texas, the “Chapter 380 Economic Development” agreement with Gainesville Redevelopment Company LLC.
• Council will consider and take action on a resolution approving partial assignment of a tax abatement pursuant to an agreement by and between the City of Gainesville, Texas, North Central Texas College, North Texas Medical Center, the County of Cooke, and Allied Production Solutions, LP, providing for ad valorem tax abatement to Forum U.S., inc. within the established enterprise and reinvestment zones 13 and 14 of the City of Gainesville; authorizing the mayor to execute all documents on behalf of the city; for the consideration and on the terms and conditions stated therein; and providing an effective date.