Hernando aldermen on Tuesday, Dec. 5 approved a $7.5 million parks improvement program for the city. The recommendations come funded from a Recreation Improvements General Obligation Bond.
Parks Director Jared Barkley sent the board this memo of what recommendations were being made ahead of Tuesday’s vote:
“We felt like baseball was the best way to spend the funds and was the most needed,” said Alderwoman Natalie Lynch, a member of the committee. “It’s very expensive but that’s just how it is.”
“The committee acknowledged and knew there were other needs, but doing one quad of baseball was a better way of doing this,” Mayor Chip Johnson added. “You get a better bang for the buck and you get more out of the money doing it this way.”
Board members approved advertising for the Oak Grove Roundabout construction project, roadwork located near Oak Grove Central Elementary School. Johnson said a clause will be put into the contract that construction must be finished ahead of the start of the year on Aug. 1, 2024, and penalties would be added if not completed on time.
An item to borrow $500,000.00 from the Utility Fund was approved but with some opposition. Aldermen Ben Piper and Chad Wicker voted against the move after a discussion about the timing.
Johnson said the need to temporarily borrow the money from the Utility Fund was due to the timing of making a bond issue payment that was coming due. He said it has been done before, with more being borrowed, but Wicker asked if this had been anticipated in the budget or something that just came up.
“It will be anticipated next year but we weren’t anticipating the date it had to be paid this year,” Johnson replied. “We’ve got money budgeted for it, but it comes in the form of property taxes. It will be paid back when we get our first round of property taxes in February.”
Aldermen also voted to allow the City Attorney to review crafting a possible ordinance that would limit railroad trains blocking city railroad crossings, including the main Commerce Street crossing that has blocked traffic during railroad switching, sometimes for hours, according to a comment made at Tuesday’s meeting.
The entire board meeting may be viewed on the City of Hernando YouTube channel.