By BEN GRAFTON
At the Freeport City Council meeting of June 25, with the elections for council seats coming up on July 14, Mayor Mickey Marse announced that Councilwoman Jean Arrant, after serving on the Council for 16 years, will not seek re-election. Two candidates for the seat being vacated by Arrant, Elizabeth Brannon and Greg Free, were present at the meeting and were introduced by Marse.
City Planner Latilda Henninger stated that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is reviewing its information on all local data in preparation for a revision of the National Flood Insurance program. Henninger will be attending training sessions for flood plain managers.
Fire Chief Ben Greenslait and Marse reported that, at a Walton County budget workshop, a proposal was made to reduce the county’s funding for the Freeport Fire Department. Greenslait said that the local fire department answers more calls in the service area than the county does. Freeport’s equipment is used, but it doesn’t get any consideration for the wear sustained. Marse said that if the county goes through with the cuts, then the Freeport Fire Department may have to restrict its responses to the city limits.
Greenslait said that the fire department is losing one fireman and, until a replacement is hired, the vacancy will be covered by part-time personnel. In view of budget problems, the fire department will interview candidates and then, if funds are available, it will fill the vacancy.
Greenslait also reported that an air compressor had been sent out to a shop for repair but due to the delay in having the work done at the shop, the compressor has been recalled, appropriate parts have been ordered and the repair work will be done in-house.
City Engineer Charles Peters reported that the Portland water well is back on line and working well. Peters said that construction work on the new No. 7 well is lagging behind the schedule specified in the project contract. Peters also reported that the new sewer plant modifications are complete and that the plant is producing specification water for use in irrigation.
Marse advised the Council that the city is trying to up-grade the water lines under Washington, Jefferson and Adams Streets. He will get three quotes to complete the work and then bring the results back to the Council for review.
At City Clerk Robin Haynes’ request, a budget workshop has been scheduled for July 16.
The Council approved Marse’s request to purchase a trenching machine from Ditch Witch of Alabama. The quoted price is $8,607.
Haynes reported that a sub-committee is working on a project to up-date the local mitigation strategy.
Plans for the annual July 4 parade and celebration at Freeport’s Regional Sports Complex at Hammock Bay are moving ahead. Events under consideration, among others, include a mullet-throwing contest, horse shoes and a scavenger hunt.
A workshop on business licenses will be held at 6 p.m. before the next scheduled City Council meeting.
Contact Ben Grafton at firstname.lastname@example.org.