Monticello City Council reviewed another budget proposal for the
current fiscal year, presented by Mayor Jeffrey Edwards, but did not
hold a scheduled first reading of the document during Monday night's
meeting. The budget proposal removed all money for a new Senior
Citizen's Center, but kept funding for an Artisan Center intact.
Much of the discussion during the meeting centered around the
Artisan Center project, which Edwards has proposed for the downtown
area. Council members have voiced concern for several months that the
old building, located near the Farmer's Market, is not a suitable
location, since it would require such extensive work for renovation.
During Monday night's meeting, several council members voiced their
concern as to whether the building would be able to be used even
after renovation. Council member Lea Hammond asked if it would be
possible to tear down that building and put up a metal-type structure
on that site at about the same cost that has been discussed for the
While the future of an Artisan Center continues to be questioned by
council members, Hammond stated Monday that the city already owns the
property that is being discussed. "We can't do anything about the
property that we have already purchased...We have to go forward," she
After the lengthy discussion, Edwards suggested that the proposed
budget be put on hold until council members have an opportunity to
look more in-depth at the figures. He also appointed a committee,
consisting of council members Hammond, Gary Dabney and Tracie Sexton,
to look at what the costs would be to tear down the proposed Artisan
Center building and possibly replace it with another structure.
The city accepted a donation of property that will allow them to
widen Short Street to alleviate traffic congestion, that includes
many large trucks and commercial vehicles on that thoroughfare.
Jeffrey Smith addressed the council on behalf of the First Christian
Church board and building committee.
He noted the church is involved in a large project in that area and
there has been concern about the heavy traffic congestion along Short
Street. The church board offered to give the city 12 feet of land on
Short Street, as long as the city would take care of excavation and
Smith said that they would also like to see some sidewalks and
lighting in that area.
The council unanimously accepted the donation and approved the
project. Smith said that surveying will be completed and a deed will
be drawn up to convey that property to the city.