The general election for May 6 was cancelled by the Gainesville City Council Tuesday. All candidates for the Gainesville City Council general election are unopposed, so they do not need to be voted on.
Mayor Tommy Moore, Brandon Eberhart and Ken Keeler applied for reelection and were unopposed in their position. However, Carolyn Hendricks is stepping down from her role on the council.
“We’re going to miss her,” said City Manager Barry Sullivan after Tuesday night’s City Council Meeting. “She’s been volunteering for 20 years.”
Her position will be filled by Keanna Franklin.
While the general election is cancelled, there will still be the special election to determine if the city will sell Sesquicentennial Park.
Council OKs bond sale
The council approved the sale of $9.8 million in bonds to upgrade local utilities — primarily sewers. Residents can expect to see the impact reflected in their utility rates over the 20-year payback term for the bonds.
Plans involving updating the Chalmers Sanitary Sewer line to use less energy and improving drainage on Wine Street were also approved at the recent city council meeting.
Bonds owned by the city of Gainesville were sold through a competitive sale, meaning they were put on the open market for any interested underwriters to submit a bid for the right to purchase and sell the bonds to the public. Hilltop Securities provided counseling on the sale.
The city received 10 different bids. For context, the representative from Hilltop said a minimum of three bids is considered a successful sale. The interest rate came out at 3.97, which anything below four percent is considered a good rate given current inflation.
Job training grant
The council also approved the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) developing a Memorandum of Understanding with Workforce Solutions Texoma and North Central Texas College (NCTC) for a Texas Workforce Commission High Demand Job Training Grant. This will provide the resources for NCTC to develop job training programs for the community.
“They said they wanted to create this industrial mechatronics program to work with electricians, industrial technicians and semiconductor process technicians,” said GEDC Executive Director William Myers. “There are currently 182 employees in Cooke County that this grant will train for; it will train for other things as well, but those are the three targeted Standard Occupational Codes (SOCs).”
If Cooke County receives the grant, we could see these trainings coming to NCTC this upcoming Fall semester.
“This is really a good thing, in my opinion,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Ken Keeler. “Not everybody wants to go to college, but we need electricians and we need people who can make semiconductors … I hope this happens because I think this is a very good thing for our community.”
A Performance Agreement between the GEDC and Marching USA, LLC. to fund a job creation incentive was also approved. This agreement says that Gainesville will provide a $4,000-per-job incentive for employees that get paid more than $20 an hour.
The city will pay at the end of each year after receiving quarterly reports. The incentive will last for two years with the combined total being up to $80 thousand.
Myers hopes to hit that number, saying “That’d be great for the economy.”
Marching USA, LLC. is a company owned by a Lake Kiowa resident that manufactures drums and drum major stands for marching bands, including UNT. The company is currently based in Fort Worth but is looking at closing on a 20 thousand square foot property in the next 30 days.
The council also approved an agreement with P3 Works to provide counseling for a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) for the Gainesville Municipal Airport.
“We have people looking at wanting to create a TIRZ around the airport, and if we’re going to get into a negotiation with this other group, we need to have somebody working with us,” said Sullivan. “P3 does these agreements on a regular basis and they’re used to negotiating these deals; they can tell us what’s a good deal, what’s not a good deal, and that is why I have requested that we hire them as consultants.”
A TIRZ is a way to incentivize development that would likely not happen through private investment by taking already existing property taxes and putting them in a special fund for projects in the reinvestment zone. This encourages developers to build public infrastructure, such as streets, public water and sewer drainage, knowing that 80 percent of what they pay for the infrastructure will be reimbursed by the city.
Another TIRZ has recently been established in association with Camp Howze Development Partners, LLC., which P3 Works guided the city on as well.
Corrections: This article has been corrected since it first appeared. The minimum hourly rate for the Marching USA thing is $20 an hour. The park for sale is named Sesquicentennial Park. We regret the errors.
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