Council members are scheduled take their first vote on the plan to annex 115 “island” properties in Hall County at their meeting today.
Members voted in December to approve the first reading of the annexation, but never held a second vote because Hall County filed an objection with the Department of Community Affairs.
The city’s planning and appeals board is scheduled at 9 a.m. today to hear public comment and consider whether to recommend approving or denying Gainesville’s request. The board voted 6 to 1 to recommend against annexation last year. The 197 acres the city wants to incorporate is mostly zoned commercial and industrial, with some residential mixed in.
The City Council will hold another public hearing and vote at 6 p.m. Both meetings will be held at Gainesville’s public safety complex at 701 Queen City Parkway.
Election business on Gainesville City Council meeting agenda
The positions of elected mayor and two City Council seats are up for election in November, and the city has several items on its agenda to kick off that process, including an intergovernmental agreement with Hall County Elections to conduct the balloting, setting the qualifying period and appointing election superintendents and an absentee ballot clerk.
The qualifying period, Aug. 26-28, was set at the work session last week, although it still needs an official vote.
Councilman George Wangemann, who has announced his plans to run for re-election as Ward 4 representative, suggested allowing five days, but other council members said they felt three days was enough time. Gainesville plans to publish notice of the qualifying period on July 14.
The council will also appoint a new mayor pro tempore because Wangemann resigned the position to focus on his campaign. Members are expected to approve an order of succession that has Councilman Bob Hamrick taking over the pro tem position, then Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras, then Councilwoman Ruth Bruner. Hamrick is likely to assume the position of mayor in August because current Mayor Danny Dunagan announced his plan to resign as mayor at the end of August so he can run to become the city’s first elected mayor in November. He currently represents Ward 1.
The new mayor plan keeps the council’s current election structure intact, calling for the citywide election of five council members from each of the city’s wards and a continued two-year rotation of mayor pro tem. But it adds a sixth seat to the council: a mayor elected from any of the five wards.
Fourth of July closures
Hall County’s administrative offices, courts, community centers and libraries will be closed Thursday for the Independence Day federal holiday. Essential public safety and public works personnel will continue service as usual during the holiday. The compactor sites will remain open.
The city of Gainesville’s administrative offices will be closed Thursday for the holiday. However, public safety and public utility services will continue to be available.
Sarah Mueller covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her: