Former Gainesville High School Principal Curtis Segars joined the Gainesville City Council and took off running Thursday morning at its work session.
He started representing Ward 1 after taking the oath of office.
Ward 1 was previously represented by former Mayor Danny Dunagan. Dunagan served as mayor and council member, but voter-approved changes to the city charter last year made those positions separate. He resigned at the end of August to run for the new elected mayor position.
Segars will serve four months as a member of the City Council, or until the November city elections. The charter allows the council to appoint a member when the unexpired term of service is less than 12 months.
This is the first year city residents will vote directly for mayor, and the City Council will have an additional member, for a total of six council members. Previously, one of the five members served as mayor, with the position elected by the council and rotating every two years.
Segars seemed to slip comfortably into his new role, making suggestions and offering opinions. The council discussed the annual Mule Camp Market Festival scheduled for October. City staff outlined the street closures and what events are expected when and where. More than 50,000 people attended the three-day festival, which included music, arts and crafts, and mule rides.
The former educator said he was concerned about people bringing dogs to an event with so many people because it could cause some smelly leftovers and interacting with the animals could cause someone to get hurt.
“I’d like to suggest we go to the government channel and the news media and ask people not to bring them,” Segars said. “If that is successful, then the problem is solved.”
Segars also mentioned he had participated in recent transportation focus group meetings and said he felt the post office downtown is a large bottleneck. He also said Green Street was too narrow and has drainage problems.
A slate of recommended projects from the meetings will go this fall to the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, Hall County’s lead planning agency, where it will be considered as part of next year’s update of the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.