City Council Approves State Street Closure for Trick or Treating, Rezoning

By Benjamin Cox on October 29, 2019 at 8:54am

The Jacksonville City Council passed a consensus for Halloween trick-or-treating this year, allowed rezoning for new businesses in Jacksonville, and heard the need for a new maintenance worker at last night’s final city council meeting of the month of October.

Rick Herrin, Head of the Water Department says the need for a new hire at the water department is vital so that other workers can get vacations, decrease the amount of overtime in the department, and give the single maintenance worker some relief. Herrin says that despite the water plant being completely new, there is still a large human element to the operations and maintenance: “A lot of our new equipment is computerized, as well as our analyzers. They have to have somebody give them attention and treatment. They have to be re-calibrated ever so often and have reagents mixed. They have to be cleaned out. We have to have all of this done so we can report it to the EPA what those machines are doing.”Herrin says the position will also be an extra set of hands at a water break.

During the consent agenda, the council approved purchase of a new postage meter for the city through Pitney Bowes, Incorporated for $260 a year. They also accepted a resolution to purchase new HVAC control system software from Siemens Industry for the Municipal Building. The current software is running on a Windows XP system, which hasn’t been supported by Microsoft in over 5 years. The system will bring major upgrades, including tying in with the Fire Alarm system to shut off HVAC if there was a fire emergency.

The council also approved two rezoning ordinances for two new businesses. Property at 154 West Morton Avenue, which was the old Marco’s Pizza building was rezoned to Business-3 with Special Use so that the relocating Medicine Shoppe could operate a drive through pharmacy lane. The vacant lot in front of the Hampton Inn at 1723 West Morton Avenue was rezoned to PD Mix with Special Use for the construction of a new drive through car wash. Elsewhere, 1201 Allen Avenue was rezoned so that a resident could install a manufactured home on the lot.

The council also came to an emergency consensus to allow for the Jacksonville Police Department to shut off traffic to West State Street on Wednesday, October 30th for trick-or-treating. Chief Adam Mefford said the plan will be released for traffic flow at 9AM today. He said that the police department were still mulling the traffic flow, closing a few side streets, and where to place officers during the trick or treat time. He said the department wanted to look at everything on paper before making a final decision and releasing the map to the public.

Mefford says that if things don’t work properly on Wednesday night, they will go back to just officers manning intersections and allowing through traffic as they have in years past. Mefford says that the plan was a precaution to ensure public safety during the heavy foot traffic.

The next city council meeting will occur on Tuesday, November 12th at 6PM at the Municipal Building.