By BEN GRAFTON
At the Freeport City Council meeting of Aug. 11, City Planner Latilda Henninger said that the Freeport Planning Board has the city’s signage regulations under review and will propose changes. The changes will allow businesses to use portable, height limited, temporary electric signs for a period of one year and to allow the use of temporary signs for a period of five days before fairs and special events provided these signs are removed within five days of the date of the event. Henninger asked for and received approval to advertise public hearings on Sept. 8 and 24, 2009 on the proposed signage changes.
Henninger advised the Council that the cities of Freeport, Paxton and DeFuniak Springs are required to submit lists of projects necessary to prepare for hurricane strikes or other disasters to Walton County. The county, in turn, must submit the lists to the state. The Council approved sending the Freeport list on to the county.
Fire Chief Ben Greenslait reported that the fire department responded to 563 calls through July 2009 compared to 514 for the same period of 2008. Of this number, 55 percent have been to locations outside of the city limits.
Greenslait said that volunteer firemen logged in 180 hours in July.
City Engineer Charles Peters said that delivery of equipment to complete the No. 7 Well project is not expected for another week. Peters reported on the project to extend the city’s water mains to the west, connecting the Portland system mains to those in Choctaw Beach. The cost estimate for the project indicates that so long as the city can obtain necessary construction grants, raising water rates should not be necessary to finance the project. A grant request, which must be on file by October, will be submitted to Rural Development (RD) for funds.
Peters believes that in the new service area of the extended water mains, the potential exists to pick up more than 100 new water customers. The Council approved sending information packages on the water system to residents in the new service area.
Peters said that additional environmental reports on the water system expansion project may have to be submitted to RD to meet regulatory requirements. Most of the environmental work already completed to secure right-of-way along SR-20 from Eglin AFB can be used to satisfy the RD requirements.
Mayor Mickey Marse advised the Council that bids for upgrading the water system lines under Adams Street have been received. The Council approved awarding the work to the low bidder, subject to review and approval of bids by Peters.
The Council agreed to write Cox Cable in support of a resident’s request to add RFD channel service to the channel line-up available in Freeport
By BEN GRAFTON