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Wednesday February 10th, 2016 11:28PM

Hall Commissioners look at library funding

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Hall County Commissioners Thursday decided they want to know what it would take to re-open closed libraries and get library system employees off unpaid furlough.

It would take local legislation at the state capital to get the county's mostly state funded library system under the county spending umbrella. The proposal and motion came from Commissioner Scott Gibbs and commissioners gave it unanimous support.

"I would like to work quickly because I know the local legislative delegation is already meeting on legislation for the late January, early February term," Gibbs told fellow commissioners.

Gibbs proposed that County Administrator Randy Knighton and County Attorney Bill Blalock look into what would be involved and report back to the Commission Board in 30 days. Gibbs added there could be cost savings since the county's insurance is cheaper than what the county pays the state.

"I would love to get those employees back and get them off furloughs and I'd love for the libraries to be back open full time and I think we can do that," Gibbs said.

At Tuesday's Library Board meeting re-opening East Hall Library was an agenda item but board members were advised to hold off. Gibbs said that was coincidental and not related to his motion.

Library system director Adrian Mixson said Tuesday he could re-open East Hall as a tech center like the North Hall branch with existing staff and incoming grant money and it would not cost the county anything. Re-opening the library would also free up space at the downtown Gainesville branch to expand and improve children's services.

NO TEN SECOND SIGNS

Commissioners today settled on a 20 second display time for digital signs after debating with a sign company representative and rejecting a recommended 10 seconds, which is the state standard.

Craig Lutz and Scott Gibbs said they could live with 30 seconds but didn't like any signs; Billy Powell's motion for 12 seconds got a three to two no vote, then Vice Chairman Jeff Stowe proposed a compromise.

"I'll make a motion that we approve this ordinance with a 20 second delay in the changing of the sign," Stowe said.

Stowe's motion got a four to one yes vote on a final decision for changing the county's outdoor sign ordinance. Lutz cast the no vote, saying digital signs distracted motorists; the digital signs would replace older billboard signs.

ANOTHER CITY/COUNTY AGREEMENT

Hall County has reached a second agreement this week with the City of Gainesville, this time a Memorandum of Understanding on development of the giant Glades Farm Reservoir in north Hall County which commissioners approved Thursday.

County Administrator Randy Knighton told commissioners City Council is supporting the project and the county's efforts to get state and federal permits and financial assistance; Knighton said the city's questions about the project were answered.

"And now we have an understanding and have clarified some issues," Knighton said."Now we have a joint Memorandum of Understanding."

Earlier Thursday at City Council's work session Public Utilities Director Kelly Randall said he did not have a problem with Glades, as long as Gainesville Public Works customers don't have to pay for it. (See Separate Story).

City Council is expected to approve it at their meeting next Tuesday.

Monday at a joint meeting commissioners and city council members approved an agreement on providing sewer service for the Gateway Industrial Park on Highway 365. Glades Reservoir would cover 850 acres and is expected to provide 30 to 40 million gallons of water per day.
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