By BEN GRAFTON
The Freeport City Council meeting of Sept. 8 began as a public hearing of the budget for the coming year. City Attorney Clayton Adkinson reviewed the proposal for a budget of $4,395,390, which is a reduction from this year. He said the millage required, at 3.93 mils, was only slightly greater than the roll-back millage of 3.923. The required millage will result in a small revenue increase of $8,000 to $9,000 which is needed to offset the loss of revenue from other sources. The Council approved the proposal and set the budget’s final public hearing for Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. The hearing was closed and then reopened as a regular Council meeting.
City Planner Latilda Henninger said that a request has been received for the city to issue a resolution supporting the Joint Land Use Study. Several members of the Council noted that supporting the study, “Feels like it’s a good thing,” but since the study has some negative impacts on Freeport, the request was set aside.
Henninger advised the Council that the final plat for the Freeport Business Park is still under review. The Council approved continuing the subject until the next meeting.
A general discussion was held about the draft proposal for revisions to regulations governing the use and placement of signs throughout the city. Noting that there are still concerns about the use of temporary signs and that there are a number of these in use throughout the city, the Council took the position that the existing regulations were adequate for the time being and closed the subject without action.
Fire Chief Ben Greenslait reported that the Fire Department made $4,700 off of the boat raffle and cookout. Greenslait said that through the end of August the department had answered 628 calls year to date compared to 577 calls for the same period of 2008. For the first time recently more than half (53 percent) of the calls were inside the city limits.
Engineer Tony Peters reported that construction on the Washington, Jefferson and Adams Streets project has commenced. Peters said the prime contractor for the No. 7 Well project has been notified that the project has exceeded the contract completion time deadline.
Peters reported that fine-tuning on effluent water quality is underway at the sewer plant.
City Clerk Robin Haynes reported that a review of accounts in arrears for the North Bay and Freeport Water Systems has been completed. A number of accounts totaling about $19,000 have been identified for which efforts, including a trace on drivers’ license numbers, to track the responsible parties have been unsuccessful. Haynes asked for and received approval from the Council to write these accounts off.
Councilman Ray Jackson reported receiving complaints about houses and properties in the city which need to be cleaned up. Some of these have been the targets of similar complaints in the past. Adkinson will follow up with the owners of these properties to get corrective action.
By BEN GRAFTON