City Law Athens City Council approves start of bid process for uptown smart meters By Bo Kuhn Posted on October 23, 2018 4 min read 0 1 280 City Council in session. Photo by Bo Kuhn. The city also passed legislation to make the bidding process on items used in public services more streamlined and syndicated. City Council met Monday to vote on an ordinance for the purchasing of smart parking meters in the uptown area. Athens City Council voted unanimously to approve city Ordinance 0-102-18, which authorizes the service-safety director to begin a bidding process for smart parking meters, which are to be placed on Court Street and other high traffic areas uptown. This is intended to alleviate the traffic flow and make the uptown area more accessible to visitors, Andy Stone, Athens service safety director, said. City Council also unanimously enacted Ordinance 0-120-18, which authorized participation in the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA) Program. Joining the NCPA Program changes the bidding process the city of Athens follows to acquire items necessary for public services, City Council President Chris Knisely said. It will allow for the acceptance of a bid that would balance cost with quality, and not just accept the lowest bid price offered. The program would elevate bidding to a national level and allow the city to save money as it will not need to advertise bidding. It would also give the city access to bidders that other municipalities around the country have already dealt with before. These bidders have gone through a process to become NCPA Awarded Vendors. NCPA covers all of the following public works services: school districts, higher education, cities, counties, local government, state agencies, healthcare organizations, church/religious organizations, and nonprofit corporations, according to the NCPA website “Almost anything you could imagine that a municipality might be looking for,” Mayor Steve Patterson said. Another topic from the meeting was the discussion of the Bailey’s Trail System in Wayne National Forest. The trails is an 88 mile bike path system located within Wayne National Forest which could potentially draw from 235,000 to 245,000 visitors annually, Patterson said. One council member asked if the city of Athens would have to lend money toward the $3.5 million construction project. Knisely said that “there will likely be a time when they come and ask the city” for financial support for the project. Student Senate members Parker Smith and Jon Schlosser came to talk about banner regulations. After reading the sign code to the commission, Smith and Schlosser asked the council if they could find a way to keep crude or inappropriate banners limited while promoting the positive signs that have been seen around campus in response to sexual assault. “Unless it is pornography, we cannot do anything about the content,” Council Member Christina Fahl said.