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Thursday February 11th, 2016 2:19PM

G'ville Council wants 'flat' FY 2015 budgets

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Gainesville City Council Thursday morning heard from department and agency directors in the first phase of how to divide an estimated $29-million city operating budget for FY 2015.

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and the Elachee Nature Center are requesting increases, but Finance Director Melody Marlowe said department heads presented accomplishments and goals, with no budget requests so far.

"The Directors have been instructed to keep their operating budgets on a level playing field with last year," Marlowe said. "The city is in the first phase of our budget development for Fiscal Year 2015. At this point we're hearing from agencies requesting funds from the city and also beginning to discuss with our departments their accomplishments for the past year as well as looking into the future for setting our goals."

Community Service Director Phillippa Lewis-Moss said she expected a two percent decrease in her new budget.

A GRANT FOR MORE OWNED HOMES

Council learned that the city is applying for a million dollar grant to help increase home ownership. Chris Davis, Housing Programs Manager, said the grant funds are from the State Department of Community Affairs.

"We have submitted a grant to build six or seven family houses," Davis said.

Davis said Gainesville has too many rental homes and the grant would help solve that problem; if the grant is approved housing construction would start on city owned property off Martin Luther King Drive.

AN ORDINANCE FOR 'GROWLERS'

Council members looked at amending the city's alcohol ordinance to allow something new downtown...growlers. Despite the intimidating name, a growler is simply a place to buy beer, only in large quantities, in large jars; City Marshall Debbie Jones presented the ordinance change.

"It will amend the ordinance to allow for the sales of growlers, to define a growler and will also allow for beer and package retailers located in the central business district to apply for special events permits," Jones told council members.

Jones said the ordinance change request came from the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce; there's no drinking allowed on growler premises except for sampling.
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