A proposal to name the new span of the Pensacola Bay Bridge, approval of the city’s airport master plan, and a slew of appointments to the city’s volunteer boards are on the City Council agenda this week, among other items.
Prior to the council’s meeting on Thursday, the body will meet for its agenda conference held today at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall. Here are some highlights from this week’s council agenda:
1. Airport Master Plan
After a multi-year process, the Pensacola International Airport is wrapping up an update to its 1999 Airport Master Plan. The plan calls for a more than $200 million expansion of the airport’s facilities over the next two decades, including construction of a new multi-story parking garage, expansion of the airport terminal, and construction of airport taxiways and aprons.
With construction wrapping up this spring on the first span of the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, a proposal to name the new bridge has surfaced. Councilwoman Sherri Myers has sponsored an item asking the council to request the state legislature to name the bridge after U.S. Air Force General Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr.
Born and raised in Pensacola’s Eastside neighborhood, James was the first African-American four-star general. The current bridge, opened in 1960, is named after former State Senator Phillip D. Beall Sr. If approved, a copy of the Resolution will be provided to the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, and members of the local Legislative Delegation.
Once again, the City Council is seeking to hire a Strategic Budget Analyst. In 2017, the council hired retired Navy Captain Butch Hansen on as a budget analyst. In 2018, Hansen resigned to make an unsuccessful run for City Council. Now, the council is looking to fill the vacancy. The job description calls for applicants with a college degree and at least one year of experience in accounting, finance, or budget analysis.
In the aftermath of a controversial vote by the city’s Architectural Review Board in which no public input was solicited during the action to permit the demolition of the former World War II-era trade school at 213 West Garden Street, newly-elected Councilwoman Ann Hill is seeking to clarify the city’s policy on maximizing opportunities for public input at city meetings.
After the vote by the Architectural Review Board, Mayor Grover Robinson called on the ARB to hold another public meeting with opportunities for public input; the chairman of the ARB, architect Carter Quina, refused to do so.
Specifically, the clarifications ask that City Council amend the council’s policy on public input by removing the following language (emphasis ours):
In all circumstances where appropriate, the Chair of the meeting shall allow the public the last opportunity to speak to an issue.
And replace it with:
In all circumstances, where appropriate, the Chair of a meeting shall ensure that the public has had an opportunity to speak to an issue prior to formal action being taken.
Hill is also asking that City Council adopt a recommendation to direct Council Executive Don Kraher to ensure that each Council-created Board has within its rules and procedures a section covering Public Input, with pre-approved language.
In an effort to become more environmentally sustainable, Councilwomen Ann Hill and Sherri Myers are joining forces for the first time to establish a policy to remove styrofoam cups, plastic bottles, and “other non-environmentally friendly items” from use within City Hall.
The recommendation comes from the city’s Environmental Advisory Board. The recommendation also calls for the city to install water refilling stations at City Hall.