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Tax rate, parking deck to be discussed by Gainesville council
Lowell Thomas, on a ladder held by co-worker David Estrada, cuts a pipe in the interior of the old Greater South Supply Co. building. The building at the corner of Jesse Jewell Parkway and Maple Street is being demolished to make way for a new parking lot that could be easily expanded in the future. - photo by Tom Reed

The Gainesville City Council will vote Tuesday to adopt the Gainesville school board’s tentative tax rate less than one month before Gainesville residents will receive their property tax bills.

The school board’s tentative millage rate comes before the City Council on Tuesday morning, though the school board will not have a chance to give final approval to the tentative millage rate of 7.81 mills until Sept. 25.

In order to have the tax rate fixed in time for the city to send out property tax bills by Oct. 10, the council must vote on the rate at this week’s meeting even though the school board has not given final approval to the rate.

The council must vote in favor of the tax rate twice before it is considered approved, and to avoid having to call a special meeting, the council needs to vote on the rate Tuesday and at its Oct. 7 meeting in order to send property tax bills out on schedule, City Manager Bryan Shuler said Thursday.

Parking deck

Also on the council’s Tuesday agenda is approval of a recommendation to award a local contractor the construction of the new downtown parking deck from the project’s manager Jarrett Nash.

Last week, Nash recommended that the council choose the lowest bidder for the construction of the new downtown parking deck, Optum Construction Group Inc. of Gainesville, for the task of building the four-level, 419-space parking deck.

Optum has promised a six-month construction time and will charge the city $6.14 million to build the deck in the place of the current downtown parking deck, Nash said. The future deck will be built in a way that will allow for expansion in the future.

Alcohol ordinance

The council also will vote on an amendment to recently approved changes to the city’s alcoholic beverage ordinances. Last month, the City Council gave final approval to a slew of changes to the city’s alcoholic beverage ordinances, one of which required license holders to file and pay renewal fees by Nov. 15.

After the changes were finalized, however, package store owners complained that paying close to $6,500 in renewal fees before the holiday season would make it difficult to stock up for their busiest season.

At the council’s direction, City Marshal Debbie Jones drafted an amendment to the ordinance, which still requires license holders to file for the next year’s license on Nov. 15, but allows them another month to pay the renewal fees.

The council will vote on each of the items at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Georgia Mountains Center.