March 15, 2022, City Council Meeting Brief

March 16, 2022 –

            Presentations

  1. Presentation regarding the School District plans for the City property on Roderico Avenue and the additional request to close Roderico Avenue between Center Street and Walnut Street.

Clay County School District Coordinator of Intergovernmental Relations and Planning Lance Addison gave a presentation of the district’s general plans for the property if the City Council passed an ordinance closing Roderico Avenue. Addison said that the School District feels that closing Roderico Avenue is necessary for them to have a complete administrative campus. Closing the road would allow the School District more options in expanding and making improvements within the property, as well as let them install a security perimeter fence clearly marking the campus. Addison also mentioned that refusal to close Roderico Avenue would be a deal breaker for the agreed $125,000 sale of the Roderico property, passed by City Council in May 2020.

Council Member Van Royal makes motion to move Consent Agenda item 15 (discussion of road closure) to 1a for immediate Council discussion. Motion passes 5-0.

1a. City Council discussion and possible approval of closing Roderico Street between Center Street and Walnut Street.

Council voices against closing Roderico Avenue, especially when the School District added a partial closure of Walnut and Center Street to the closure request. Mayor Ed Gaw said that his main concern with closing the road is that the closure would disrupt the contingency of improvements to Walnut Streetscape and Downtown Core, as well as limit access to Walnut Street for residents. Council Member Van Royal is against the closure for similar reasons. Council Member Connie Butler also voiced her concern that closing Roderco Avenue would limit the police department’s access to Walnut Street during emergencies. Council Member Steven Kelley also cited downtown development plans as his concern for closing Roderico Avenue. He also said that he wants to still honor the original sale of the property without closing the road, and Vice Mayor Matt Johnson agreed. Johnson also mentioned that he was considering closing Roderico Avenue as he doesn’t see it as an asset to Walnut Street, and was more concerned with the School District’s plans of perimeter fencing as he would like that fencing to match the look of downtown redevelopment.

Council Member Van Royal motions to not move forward with further discussions of closing Roderico Avenue. Motion seconded by Council Member Connie Butler. Passes 5-0 by City Council.

            Consent Agenda

  1. City Council approval of the Water Conservation Month Proclamation

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval of Resolution No. R-02-2022, requesting the reduction of permit fees by St. Johns River Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval to award Thomas May Construction Bid #2022-01 to construct the Police Metal Storage Building in the amount of $79,750.00.

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval of Docking Confirmation Summary – 2023

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval of Minutes from Regular Sessions 1/4, 1/18 and 2/1

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval of Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (EHEAP) Vendor Payment Agreement with Aging True

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval of Contractor’s Pay Request #10 for Williams Industrial Services, LLC, in the amount of $849,125.22, for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), State Revolving Fund (SRF), Harbor Road Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) Expansion, Phase 2, SRF Agreement No. WW1000420. In addition, upon completion by Mittauer staff, authorization for the mayor to sign the subsequent Disbursement Request which returns funds to the Wastewater CIP Budget.

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval to surplus the Information Technology items listed in the attachment.

Pulled by mayor Ed Gaw to make sure that the listed items couldn’t be used in some capacity by the City. Reassured by staff that all surplus items listed are not operating at a functioning capacity.

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval to surplus Bucket Truck #219, a 1992 Ford F-700 that has reached the end of its service life.

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval of Pay Application #9 in the amount of $29,421.50 and Pay Application #10 in the amount of $4,351.00 to Terry’s Electric for Chapman Substation Construction Improvements, leaving a balance of $47,731.01 in contract number LC 2020-17 in the total revised amount of $954,620.17.

Passes 5-0 by City Council

  1. City Council approval of the Houston Place plat, a replat of a portion of Lots 1 and 2, Block 64, North Suburbs of Green Cove Springs, identified as parcel ID 018094-000-00.

Passes 5-0 by City Council

Council Business

  1. Update on Walnut Street roadway and streetscape construction. Moved from Consent Agenda by Assistant City Manager Mike Null’s request. Pulled from Consent Agenda by Council Member Van Royal.

As staff has completed a Walnut Street Design and a Downtown Parking Study, as well as currently working on a Downtown Master Plan and US 17 Corridor Study, Assistant City Manager Mike Null wanted to present some of the initial design projects that will be started as a result of these studies. These design projects include:

400 Block of Walnut Street (Palmetto to Orange Ave) based on Proposed Option 1 in the Walnut Street Design Plan as that offers the best combination of bike and pedestrian mobility, allows City to retain existing on-street parking, and offers maximized sidewalk space for outdoor dining and sales.

300 and 200 Block of Walnut Street (Orange Ave to the St. Johns River) Proposed Option 1 in the Walnut Street Design Plan will also be used for this section and include more on-street parking and maximization of sidewalk space.

Roadway surface will be real brick from Palmetto to Magnolia Avenue. Beyond that section of Walnut Street, the roadway will be stamped brick asphalt to be re-painted regularly. Design of intersections will vary based on needs of each intersection. Roadway of side streets will be determined based on the life-cycle costs of each street and the design aesthetics.

Sidewalks will be concrete with brick bands (similar to sidewalks in and around Spring Park).

Other Design concepts to be implemented include Mid-block crossing with planting bed and removable bollards, proposed improvements to the pedestrian connection, and landscaping and lighting improvements.

Funding for these projects includes $25,000 from FY 22 Public Works CIP for Streetscape Design, $200,000 from FY 22 Public Works Brick Street Repair Budget, $1,100,000 from American Rescue Plan Act funding, and anticipated $400,000 from Florida Department of Environmental Protection 319 Grant funds. Total available funds for these projects are $1,725,000.

Assistant City Manager Mike Null said that he will bring the task order for Walnut Streetscape with selected engineer by the April 5 City Council meeting.

  1. Passage of attached Ordinance No. O-10-2022 on first reading as to form only to authorize the Non-Ad Valorem Assessment Program for Code Violation Abatement and Recovery of City Costs.

This Ordinance is a result of the Council requesting staff to begin the process of collecting City nuisance abatement costs from property owners as a non-ad valorem special assessment on their annual property tax bills. Council is in agreement with the Ordinance, except for Council Member Van Royal’s request to take out the language about a Code Enforcement Board. Rest of the Council expressed desire to leave that language in the ordinance.

First reading as to form only passed 4 -1 by City Council, with Council Member Van Royal opposed.

  1. City Manager and City Attorney Reports/Correspondence

City Attorney Jim Arnold presented to the Council a recent lawsuit brought to the City and Soul Food Fest, Inc. about an injury resulting in stepping in a hole inside Vera Frances Hall Park during Soul Food Fest 2018. Soul Food Fest is required to answer the lawsuit. Arnold suggests that, if the Council desires, they can authorize a donation to Soul Food Fest, Inc. as an emergency motion.

Vice Mayor Matt Johnson motions to have City Manager and City Attorney get back with attorney, Soul Food Fest Inc. engage an attorney and utilize their funds, City provide assistance if needed not to exceed $5,000. Passed 4-1, with Council Member Van Royal opposed.

City Manager Steve Kennedy announced that Green Cove Springs now has a permanent spot on the Tourist Development Council due to recent City population size. Also announced that after meeting with Assistant County Manager Charlie Latham, the County is planning on building six to eight outdoor Pickleball courts on the Augusta Savage Community Complex by the softball field. City Staff also ordered new boat for Police Department, which should be arriving in February 2023.

  1. City Council Reports/Correspondence

Mayor Ed Gaw passes around Florida Times-Union article about City of St. Augustine’s new mobility fee to discuss how it can be used as an example of what Green Cove Springs’ mobility fee could look like in the future.

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