JEDCO Employer of the Month

Barry Lofquist (left) of CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Jacksonville accepts the “Employer of the Month” award at the Tuesday night council meeting.

The City of Jacksonville received a report during the regular city council meeting Tuesday from Hilltop Securities praising the sell of $8.6 million in bonds.

The bonds were sold at 2.67 percent interest for 20 years, and the city will receive $9.7 million at the end of the transaction, officials said.

“This is the culmination of nearly 16 months of work to get to this position,” said Greg Smith, Jacksonville City Manager.

“Funds will primarily be used for the Public Safety Complex,; they can also be used for streets and parks,” Smith said. “The city is in very good financial condition as confronted by our bonds rating. Most cities use debt service to fund large capital projects, such as this complex.”

In other business, James Hubbard, president of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation, presented the council with a new video promoting the city.

He said the promotional tool was used during a meeting in Tyler on Tuesday morning to “Sell Your City.”

“It was titled 'Sell Your City' and residential real estate agents and brokers were invited to attend,” said JEDCO assistant Sherri McDonald. “The premise was for the panelists (including Hubbard) to speak on the selling points of their city and provide information to realtors for future prospects.”

She added that the video was made “to showcase our greatest asset, the people of Jacksonville.”

During the meeting, CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Jacksonville was honored as the “Employer of the Month.” Recipient Barry Lofquist said the distinction was “an example of the great work employees do each and every day.”

The “Employee of the Month” Brian Gay could not be in attendance, so that presentation was not given.

A public hearing for a zone change from “P” Planned Development to “B” One-and-Two Family at 903 College Ave. was held, with no comments in favor of or against the change, which was approved by the council.

In other action, the underwriter for the issuance of certificates of obligation was approved for Piper Sandler and Company, and the construction manager at risk for the new public safety complex was named as Berry & Clay.

The council also approved the replat of two lots at 2502 Byrd Rd. at the Lake Jacksonville concession area, and an ordinance modifying sanitation rates with Republic Services were approved. The sanitation rate was a contractual three-percent increase.

A water contract with Gum Creek Water Supply was also approved for one year, with a one-year extension. Smith said there was no rate increase for the water company, with the rate remaining the same as the past year.

The consent agenda was approved during the meeting. It included:

Minutes of the regular council meeting on Dec. 10, 2019, special meeting on Jan. 6 and an agenda workshop on Jan. 9;

A resolution calling for a May election of Districts 2 and 4 of the Jacksonville City Council. Dist. 2 is currently represented by Jeff Smith, and Dist. 4 is presented by Rob Gowin;

A joint-election agreement between the City of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Independent School District;

A contract for election services with Cherokee County; and

The appointment of Julie Rowe (Dist. 1) to the Keep Jacksonville Beautiful Board.

During the city manager's report, Smith announced and welcomed new Jacksonville Police Chief Joe Williams to the city. Williams will take the reins of the JPD on Feb. 7.

Smith also thanked interim police chief Mike Alexander for his services to the city, which go through the end of January.

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