Leesburg Council OKs purchase of bucket truck

LEESBURG -- Leesburg City Council members Bob Wilson, Sidney Johnson and Rhonda Futch, each of whom was re-elected to new terms last year without opposition, were sworn in by City Attorney Bert Gregory to kick off the council's first meeting of 2012 Tuesday night.

Immediately afterward, Councilwoman Debra Long was named mayor pro tem, and the council got down to its first-of-the-year business.

Long asked the council to consider ammending the city's budget to allow Public Works to purchase a needed bucket truck. After Mayor Jim Quinn asked City Clerk Casey Moore if money could be "moved around" to finance the purchase, the council voted to approve the request with a set spending limit of $5,000.

Johnson, chairman of the city's Maintenance Committee, said he'd like to approach Lee Planning and Engineering Director Bob Alexander and the Lee County Commission about making needed repairs to Starksville Avenue.

"That one road is atrocious," Johnson said. "I'd like to see us put (road repairs on Starksville) at as high a priority as possible. If we had an event like the Christmas Parade on there now, it would be embarrassing."

Councilman Bob Wilson said he'd like to see progress made on planned renovations on the historic downtown railroad depot, which has been awaiting allocation of federal funding for months now.

"It looks to the citizens that we represent like we're doing nothing on that project," Wilson said. "We promised folks that was moving forward, and I'd like to see us do something: repair it, paint it or tear it down."

Quinn said earlier work done to prepare the project, including an environmental study, had been discounted when "they changed the rules of the game."

"We had to start over from ground zero," Quinn said.

The council also approved an alcohol licence request from the Express Lane convenience store.