By BEN GRAFTON
At the Freeport City Council meeting of Oct. 12, City Planner Latilda Henninger reported to the Council that she had been advised the city’s Floodplain Management Ordinance was out of date. To resolve this problem, a draft of a proposed new ordinance has been prepared. Henninger then presented the first reading of the proposed new ordinance and asked for approval to set the second reading for Nov. 9. The Council approved the reading and the proposed date for the second reading.
Bill Chapman of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) addressed the Council about Freeport’s old Public Works Building which is used as a sheriff’s substation. He said the building is in bad shape and he reported he had talked to Mayor Mickey Marse and County Commissioner Scott Brannon about a plan to tear down the existing structure and replace it with a suitable building meeting appropriate standards. He said the county would provide the structure and the city would provide the property. He said WCSO had been granted access to temporary housing until the new facility was ready for service.
Marse said the existing building has no historic value and that the proposal was all right from his perspective. City Attorney Clayton Adkinson said that a 30-year lease with WCSO responsible for all maintenance and up-keep would be appropriate. The Council approved a request to have Walton County demolish the old building.
Marse reported to the Council that the transfer of Freeport’s property in the Owls Head water well field to Regional Utilities in exchange for 11 acres with a completed well off of U.S. 331 and $1 million is complete. Marse said the well must be made ready for operation; that approval of Water Management must be obtained and that piping must be installed to connect this well to the Bull Dog tank. The Council approved moving forward with this project.
Freeport resident Jeffery Powell addressed the Council on the subject of fees required to tie in to the city’s sewer system. He said he was not just speaking for himself, that he was not complaining, and that he would tie-in to the sewer system but he wanted to make sure the Council understood that his $5,000 dollar check to the city to start this procedure was a hard condition for many residents to meet. Not only that but users of the city sewer system would see their monthly utility bills increase. Marse said the city needs to have more users hook up to the sewage system and that this problem is already under review and some financing help for homeowners is under consideration. Adkinson said that the city was not in a position to resolve the problem right now. The city will review the problem with Walton County officials in hopes of finding a solution to the problem.
Jim Morris of U.S. Tank presented an example of a contract under which inspection and maintenance service for all of the city’s elevated water tanks would be provided. Marse said these tanks must be inspected annually and that the city presently has this service performed on a case by case basis. Morris said that Regional Utilities, Paxton and other nearby communities have already signed up for this service. A copy of the proposed contract was given to Adkinson to review. Adkinson will also review regulations for bidding this type of proposal.
Following the example of Freeport Middle School, the city approved from 6 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 for Halloween activities.
City Clerk Robin Haynes, after speaking graciously about his work, presented Freeport’s Administrative Assistant, Al Wilson, with a 20-year service award.