GNV commission to discuss UF, COVID

The Gainesville City Commission will hold its first regular meeting of 2022 on Thursday with a new starting time of 10 a.m.

The starting time was approved in December, along with other meeting changes, and will now be the standard for the commission’s bi-monthly regular meeting.

Here are some of the top items on the agenda:

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Campus development agreement with UF

UF and the City of Gainesville were unable to reach an agreement last year, but the parties only have a month left to settle their differences before the issue goes to mediation by the state government.

The campus development agreement (CDA) is a contract between UF and both Gainesville and Alachua County that is updated every five years. The CDA is required by state law and seeks to mitigate development by UF that impacts the surrounding areas.

Both the city and county have delayed signing off on the agreement due to campus housing changes. But the county finally approved its side of the agreement in December. Mainstreet Daily News has the full report from the Gainesville commission’s last discussion on the CDA in December.

COVID-19 vaccine incentives and other measures

Scheduled as a discussion, the commission plans to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine and other ways to mitigate the pandemic.

In the fall, the commission moved forward with a vaccine requirement for city employees and some contractors, but an emergency injunction stopped the measure.

Alachua County implemented a vaccine incentive for its employees in the fall, giving $500 to employees plus insurance premium reductions.

ARP funding

The commission has two American Rescue Plan (ARP) items on the docket. The first would bring the city and Baker Tilly, an advisory firm, into a contract for the distribution of $7 million to local nonprofits.

In the fall, the commission passed a motion to finance nonprofits from the ARP money, and Baker Tilly will be in charge of vetting the applicants based on city criteria if it receives the nod from the commission on Thursday. The city looked at four other applicants as well.

The second ARP item will involve an update from staff and general discussion.

Staff are looking for further information on what criteria will guide the nonprofit selection process. An update will be given about the just over $14 million in funds the commission has already approved―like eviction assistance, utilities debt forgiveness, energy rehab and homeless outreach.

East Gainesville grocery store

The proposed plan for the city to finance $3.3 million for a grocery store off of Hawthorne Road will return, but this time staff is recommending the commission not move forward.

Ordinance changes

The commission will vote to change wording within three city ordinances.

One would clarify the prohibition of discrimination based on lawful source of income for the sale or renal of housing.

Another finalized an increase in the cost of parking permits―from $25 to $145―for service and commercial permits.

The last, dealing with solid waste disposal, would allow the city to enter an exclusive franchise agreement, and change the length of term for non-exclusive franchise agreements to one month in any year the city is transitioning from non-exclusive to exclusive.

The change also allows the city to give exclusive certificates of registration for collected residential property.

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