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Avondale City Commission adopts classification and compensation study, sets sanitation fees

Avondale Estates Business

Avondale City Commission adopts classification and compensation study, sets sanitation fees

Photo obtained via the city of Avondale Estates website.
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By Zoe Seiler, contributor

The Avondale Estates Board of Mayor and Commissioners met Jan. 27 and adopted a classification and compensation study, approved the Town Green design process and set the sanitation fees for 2020. The City Commission also added a project to its Intergovernmental Agreement with the Downtown Development Authority.

Last week, the City Commission heard a presentation from the Carl Vinson Institute on its compensation and classification study. The city worked with CVI to develop a plan to evaluate city employee’s compensation and make sure they are being compensated fairly.

The board adopted the classifications and compensation rates from the study, which will be implemented for the city’s next pay period.

“I have never experienced a place that cares as much about its employees that work there as Avondale Estates has,” Commissioner Brian Fisher said.

He hopes this will allow the city to maintain and attract employees who are valued in the city by the residents.

The City Commission also took the next steps on the Town Green project and established the design process. The Town Green project includes the construction of a park and a mix-use building that will be located along Highway 278/ North Avondale Road.

According to the terms of the memorandum of understanding between the city and Fabric Developers, Fabric was to present the board with a design firm that will design the park. The board approved Fabric’s selection of Site Solutions, so the next steps were to establish the design process which includes a public participation plan and schedule.

The first public meeting about the project is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 29. The goal of the meetings is to reach as many people as possible Eric Bishop from Site Solutions said at the Jan. 22 work session.

Residents will be able to offer input and help determine the priorities for the park.

“Then we’ll have a robust digital presence, so persons who are unable to attend meetings or have ideas after meetings are held have an opportunity to weigh in on the project from a from a digital platform as well,” City Manager Patrick Bryant said at the work session.

The second meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 and will take the input from the first meeting and begin to establish the preliminary plan for the park. Site Solutions will present its final design on March 21.

In other business:

– The City Commission set the sanitation fees for 2020.

The yearly residential fee was set at $508 per household. The original fee proposed was $495 but was increased by $13 to account for an increase in recycling costs.

The city currently has a contract with Latham Home Sanitation to pick up residential recycling. Under the contract, Latham is able to request an increase in the fee they charge the city based on their disposal fee, Decaturish previously reported.

“Recycling is getting more and more expensive. You’re seeing a lot of cities not being able to provide the service any longer,” Fisher said. “It’s getting more expensive to do and I think it’s important to continue to support that initiative. That’s the difference from the $495 that was in the agenda to the $508.”

Business owners will have to pay a base fee of $895 and $190 for each additional container. This fee was not affected by the recycling cost as the city does not provide recycling services to commercial businesses, City Manager Bryant said.

– City Commissioners added a project to their agreement with the city’s Downtown Development Authority.

In October 2019, the City Commission adopted an intergovernmental agreement with the city’s Downtown Development Authority.

The agreement serves as a master agreement between the board and the DDA and allows them to attach different schedules as the two entities determine which projects to work on together, Decaturish previously reported.

The city has granted the DDA the ability to build a parking lot at the corner of Lake and Franklin Streets, which are both owned by the city. This project with be added to the intergovernmental agreement.

“The parking lot’s important. We need it,” Fisher said. “On a Friday night it’s difficult to find a place to park in Tudor Village and some of the other places such as restaurants and other things are getting more and more crowded. I hope that continues to be a problem. Those are good problems to have.”

Commissioner Lionel Larate was also supportive of the parking lot but had concerns about who would maintain the lot and if revenue would be generated from the lot.

“Those questions remain open to me, but I think it’s a good thing to have the lot there,” he said.

The addition to the agreement would also allow the DDA to improve the building at 90 North Avondale Road, which is next to Edwin Jarvis, Commissioner Lisa Shortell said.

Shortell and Commissioner Dee Merriam are hosting a Commissioner Chat at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1 at Edwin Jarvis, located at 88 N Avondale Road. The City Commission will meet again for a work session at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at City Hall, 21 North Avondale Plaza.

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