Councilwoman Toni Garrard Clay said, “This is going to be something out of the blue for a lot of people.”
She then went on to “float the idea … of the top floor of the Cain Center becoming a modern, vibrant library.”
Clay chairs the Henderson County Library Advisory Board and said the Public Library Fund (a fundraising arm for the library) has been exploring a new home for the Henderson County Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library.
At their Monday, January 8, 2018, meeting, the Athens City Council voted to close the city’s collection station. This decision was made in concern of the cost to maintain and operate the facility, the regulatory liability that comes with maintaining the facility, and the recognition that there are other facilities within the county that can provide the same service to residents.
City staff is currently evaluating the steps it will take to close the facility.
“We want to ensure that the closing of the facility is done in a manner that ensures Athens residents are well aware of the change,” said Managing Director of Public Services Ryan Adams. “Our priority will be to ensure all residents are aware of their options for properly disposing of their garbage, brush and bulky items.”
Until a closing date is set and communicated, the facility will remain open according to its regular schedule. Residents with any questions are encouraged to call City Hall at 903-675-5131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We learned this week the Cain Center rehabilitation project will continue, but there is still debate among Athens City Council members about how much to spend.
The council discussed the issue during its regular meeting Monday night, which saw a standing-room-only audience and nearly an hour of citizen comments, almost all of which were in support of moving forward with the Cain Center.
The turnout was fueled by a split in the council last month when Mayor Monte Montgomery and Councilwoman Toni Garrard Clay wanted to continue forward with the project, while Councilmen Ed McCain and Robert Gross argued to stop work and send the question to voters in the form of a bond election.
The Athens City Council voted to close the City’s collection site Monday night.
The action came for two reasons:
State rules call for community collection sites to be registered with the TCEQ, however that has not been the case in Athens in the past. Complying with this requirement could bring the site under closer scrutiny from the state and officials worry that could lead to liability issues.
The collection site does not support itself. Through fees, the collection site brought in about $14,000 last year, but it cost $55,000 to operate the site. That’s a $40,000 tax subsidy to keep the site open, which was something council members did not want to see continue.
The City staff worked with Republic Services to come up with alternative plans for curbside bulk trash pickup, but the council decided not to go that route because of concerns it would be complicated for residents and the price could escalate after an initial three-year contract.
For the second consecutive year, the City of Athens is pleased to offer the Downtown Façade Improvement Program to qualifying downtown property owners. In Fiscal Year 2017, the Athens City Council approved the creation of the Downtown Façade Improvement Program. This new and exciting program is designed to help improve aesthetic qualities and preserve historic structures in the Athens downtown area.
“The first year of the program was a huge success,” said Community Services Coordinator Adrianna Hinds. “The City received over 10 applications for requests for improvements ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 and, after administrative review, was able to fund 6 of them.” She added, “we look forward to another successful year in 2018 and encourage downtown property owners to take advantage of this funding opportunity.”