As Gainesville officials spent the past three days at a planning retreat, several issues came to the front of the agenda. Here is a look at some of the items city officials have put on the top of their to-do lists this year:
Rather than wait on state DOT funding, city officials would like to fund projects they say need more immediate attention:
- congestion on Jesse Jewell Parkway.
- the "chokepoint" at the John Morrow interchange.
- the Academy/Green Street split.
Officials want to boost the economy by:
- aggressively pursuing the redevelopment of the Midtown area, and adding sidewalks.
- studying surrounding communities’ alcohol rules to make downtown restaurants more competitive with those in South Hall.
- exploring opportunities to improve retail choices at Lakeshore Mall.
Public utilities issues
To mitigate lost revenues from water restrictions and ensure water for the future, officials plan to:
- speed up plans to use the Cedar Creek Reservoir.
- cut expenses by pushing back capital projects.
- ask City Council to put off voting on water rates.
Gainesville faces financial pressures from:
- departments that rely on money transfers from the general fund. The city must find ways to keep agencies flourishing, but reduce their dependence on the general fund.
- proposed state legislation that threatens to eliminate franchise fees from utility and solid waste companies.
- a slumping housing market that is affecting property tax revenues.