- Published on Monday, 30 April 2012 02:56
- Written by MELISSA HARVARD
- Hits: 444
The city commission approved the bid recommendations for four of the five projects, but voted to rebid the Drainage Improvements Project because all of the bids were higher than the amount the city had budgeted to spend.
To some of those who attended the commission meeting on Monday, there was more to the story.
The ensuing conversation about the FDOT certification riled residents in the packed commission chambers.
The FDOT certification is an expensive certification to maintain, Hipp Construction Company's Virginia Johns said at the meeting.
Some persons in attendance alleged that bidders had been told ahead of time that the FDOT certification was not a prerequisite to place a bid, while yet others said they were told they’d have enough time to complete the FDOT certification. Another line of argument was that many times bidders are not required to be FDOT certified for bids under $250,000.
City Attorney Scott Walker said that the city has used the FDOT certification for over five years, but added that the language in the city's advertisements could have been clearer.
“It ticks me off when the local people don’t get the job,” resident Kevin Coleman said at the meeting.
Because of the expensive maintenance level, the FDOT certification favors certain businesses over others, it was argued.
While the project was voted to be rebid, the rebid was not based on the FDOT certificate, but rather on the high bid prices.
The commission did discuss ideas about how to handle bid projects in the future to save the city money. Discussion included using similar guidelines that the FDOT certification requires, but not requiring the bidder to be officially FDOT certified.Also discussed was adding residents with more construction experience on the Request for Proposals/Qualifications Committee, which gives the bid recommendations to the city commission. Add a comment Add a comment
- Published on Monday, 30 April 2012 02:54
- Written by Today Staff Report
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Although Brown won the race by a 2-1 margin over her opponents, she was victorious by a razor thin margin, carrying 50.1 percent of the votes and avoiding a run-off election. Brown garnered 237 of the 473 votes cast, while opponent Patricia Lee picked up 128 and opponent Billy Rogers received 108 votes.
Brown is replacing longtime Commissioner Orien Hills who opted not to seek re-election.Add a comment Add a comment
- Published on Sunday, 22 April 2012 16:18
- Written by MELISSA HARVARD
- Hits: 657
Thousands of area residents flocked to Alachua were they strolled up and down Main Street during the 10th Annual Alachua Spring Festival.
ALACHUA – A long wooden sign with the carved words “WOOD IS GOOD” caught the eye of those walking by Brian Hoblick’s tent on Sunday afternoon.
Each piece is different, the Alachua resident said. The booth was filled with cypress and pine wooden carvings. There was a sign with a crane carved into it, a plaque with a fish and one piece with a carved cross.
Pops of color from flowers and art lined Main Street on Sunday afternoon. The sound of blue grass bands filled the street at the 10th Annual Alachua Spring Festival.
The festival took place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and featured 174 vendors, according to one of the event organizers, Valerie Taylor. What started as primarily a festival to showcase home improvement vendors and gardeners has grown to encompass a variety of vendors, such as homemade dog treat bakers, churches, charities, artists and musicians.
“There’s kind of something for everyone here,” Brad Campen, of Gainesville, said. Campen, his wife Shirley and their 13-week-old son Cooper visited the festival because of the variety.
They said they preferred the Alachua Spring Festival to the art festival that was happening on the same day in Gainesville.
The vendors at the festival came out for a number of different reasons. Newberry residents Mike and Elizabeth Ewing said they came out for fun, rather than to make a profit.
They had a board full of bracelets with various names spelled out in the beading. Mike said when they first started, they picked up three different yearbooks and began making bracelets from those names. When they received feedback that they didn’t have a certain name, they started to take custom orders.
Gainesville resident Stephanie Key had other reasons for attending the Alachua Spring Festival. Her business, the Curlie Girlie Bowtique, was started about two years ago after her then 23-month-old daughter Kylie was diagnosed with diabetes.
Kylie is the inspiration for starting this business. The profit goes to pay the medical bills and other expenses, Key said, who is now pregnant with her second daughter.
Daughter Kylie also inspired the product she makes. “She wears big, big bows,” Key said.
The hand-sewn bows were laid out on the table in various colors from bright pink to dark blue. Behind the bows was a framed picture of Kylie modeling one of her mom’s bows.
Another vendor at the festival sold plants and plant-growing kits. Renee Shiver and her husband sell mushroom growing plugs at festivals and around the world. The website for their business, Southeast Mushroom, has shipped the plugs to places like Hungary, China, Italy and Spain.
“People are interested, and it’s not a hard thing to do,” Shiver said.
Taylor said she was pleased at the turnout on Sunday. People kept moving at a steady pace, and the scene of art in front of her shop on Main Street created a wonderful atmosphere for the public to walk through, she said.
“Main Street is just a beautiful place to walk on, even without all this stuff,” she said. “So when you add all this stuff back in, it’s really beautiful.”Add a comment Add a comment
- Published on Sunday, 22 April 2012 16:24
- Written by Special to Alachua County Today
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L-R: Newly-elected High Springs Commissioner Scott Jamison is administered his oath of office by City Clerk Jenny Parham at the beginning of the April 12 commission meeting. With 295 votes, Jamison defeated challenger Ann Carter who garnered 205 votes in the April 10 special election. Jamison is filling a vacancy left on the commission by the January resignation of former Commissioner Eric May Add a comment Add a comment
- Published on Sunday, 22 April 2012 16:17
- Written by AMANDA WILLIAMSON
- Hits: 572
After voicing his lack of confidence in the city clerk and the city finance services director in a previous meeting, Vice Mayor Bob Barnas elaborated on his earlier comments during the April 12 commission meeting saying Parham needs to refocus on the good of the city.
“I feel, with my vote of no confidence, the city’s not getting what they should,” Barnas said.
Parham has worked 24 years with the City of High Springs, but Barnas said, “Does that mean we owe you something or does that mean you owe us something?”
According to the City of High Springs Charter, the city clerk works at the pleasure of the commission, said Barnas. During the April 12 commission meeting, Barnas said to Parham and the other commissioners that there are choices available regarding the city clerk position.
“Do a resolution and send her down the road, or do nothing,” he said. Barnas stated that he did ask for a resolution prior to the April 12 meeting, but he was unable to get one.
“If you’re directed to do something, it is done immediately,” Barnas said. “On the part of taking the initiative, to perhaps force the commission to get you help, on saying it needs to be done, on saying the scanners not working, on saying the tax parcels are in a drawer and we need to deal with those things – the constant little things that have just irritated the snot out of me,” Barnas added.
Only six years away from retirement, Parham suggested to the commission that they bring a part-time clerk on staff to learn from her and to help her with daily tasks. With the nearly insurmountable amount of records that need to be scanned, Parham said the task would be finished a lot quicker if she had someone to help.
Barnas agreed, saying that Parham was the city’s intellectual capital. He wants to bring on a part-time person who would eventually become full-time, and he or she would be able to help in case Parham was unavailable for any reason.
When the city brings on the assistant clerk, Barnas said the salary should come from reductions in the paychecks of Parham and the finance services director, Helen McIver. Other departments are working for a lot less, such as the police chief and the fire chief, said Barnas.
“I have been here longer than any department head you have,” Parham said. “I make less than any department head you have. I have less help than any department head you have, and I don’t think it’s fair to cut my salary.”
Last year, Parham said, the city didn’t have the money to bring on extra staff, so she took on the city clerk position because she was trying to help the city.
Newly elected Commissioner Scott Jamison said it was ironic that other commissioners were acknowledging how much work Parham had and how impossible it was to do it on her own, yet in the same statement, they were holding her accountable for it.
“Certain employees you need to prod, and certain employees you don’t,” he said.
Commissioner Sue Weller said she has every confidence in Parham, and Mayor Dean Davis said he has never asked Parham to do anything that she didn’t do.
In a follow-up phone call to Vice Mayor Barnas, he refused to comment on his statements and his reasoning for requesting a resolution to fire Parham or about why he wants to reduce the pay for the city clerk and city finance services director.Add a comment Add a comment