By ALICIA LEONARD
At its regular meeting on August 10, The DeFuniak Springs City Council approved unanimously the purchase price for the old Walton County Health Department building. The building is equally owned by the city and county. The appraised amount came to $180,000. The city will split the cost and pay $90,000 for the county’s half of the building and the city will pay $55,000 for the parking lot, that is owned entirely by the county. The total cost for the building and parking lot, marked for the relocation of the DeFuniak Springs Police Department, will be $145,000.
According to the memorandum from DeFuniak Springs City Manager Kim Kirby, the county has requested the city grant them $145,000 of water and sewer capacity credit in exchange for ownership and property.
The Council then moved to unanimously approve the project ranking and transmittal of that ranking for the Local Mitigation Strategy Project. The top-ranking projects for the study are expansions sought for the widening of U.S. 331.
Dr. Julie Elio spoke to the Council about the possibility of extra precautions concerning Shoemaker Drive. Elio told the Council, “I’ve seen a lot of children almost get hit by cars. The city has come out and put up extra signs, but there are no lines on the road. I would like to see a bike path on that road to keep the kids off the street before someone gets hurt.”
Elio continued to speak about the need for safety on the road. Council members agreed that they would like to see improved safety on the road and that further studies needed to be done on the road to see what could be done. Mayor Harold Carpenter told Elio that the Council had tried to get a stoplight at the end of Shoemaker and the request was turned down by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Councilman Don Harrison told Elio that it was a very important matter to the Council and they were going to continue to be “persistent” in pursuing improvements to the safety of many roads with issues in the area.
Kevin Chilcutt told the Council that he was the chairman for a citizen advisory panel that works with the FDOT to help make improvements to local roads through a ranking system. Chilcutt said that the panel may be able to help fund the improvements needed on Shoemaker through grant requests.
Mikie Taylor approached the Council to request a permit to sell ice cream. Taylor’s request was sent back to the City Manager and County Attorney for further discussion. No action was taken.
Utility Services Supervisor Mike Sasser accepted an award from the American Public Gas Association for outstanding safety, presented by Carpenter. Kirby told the Council that the it was one of the best reports the department had received and the staff was extremely proud of the work Sasser and his crew had performed. Sasser thanked his crew and said it was a group effort of all of the employees at the department.
Carpenter presented a proclamation honoring the Complete Count Committee for the upcoming 2010 census partners. The proclamation declared the importance of an accurate census count to the community and residents’ well-being.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for August 24 at 6 p.m.
By ALICIA LEONARD