By LEAH STRATMANN
At the last meeting of the year for the South Walton County Mosquito Control District (SWMCD) director Stephen Sickerman reported the county has forwarded 30 percent of ad valorem taxes and the district has spent 12 percent of the budget thus far. To date, the district has received no funds from the state and spent none of those earmarked monies.
Board attorney Lori Bytell reported on her review of the contract the district has with Les Porterfield’s engineering company. “Porterfield’s company has been subsumed by TEA, Inc. and a new contract has been written which is identical to the one with Porterfield, who will continue to provide service to the district,” she said.
Board member John Magee made a motion to assign the contract to TEA, Inc. The motion was seconded and passed with two votes. Jim Crawford voted no on the motion.
Chairman Bob Hudson asked Sickerman to get together with Porterfield to take district issues before the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) because “county public works has failed to provide the services asked for on mosquito control ditches.”
Porterfield and Sickerman will confer to bring issues to the attention of District 5 commissioner Cecilia Jones about Chat Holley Road and 13th Street culverts to see if this can be resolved. If not, the issues will be taken to the BCC as a whole.
In a bit of administrative shuffling, Crawford will assume the chairmanship for 2011, with Hudson serving as secretary.
Hudson said, “I am concerned about the amount of time since the employees have gotten any financial recognition for their efforts to the district. We have a funded but unfilled position. Last year we gave the employees a one-time financial recognition. I’d like to do that again to offset the increase in major medical contributions. Part timers would get $150 and full timers $1,000. This group was instrumental in saving the district money and what with the funded position remaining open; we have the money to do this. The money will come from the funded but unfilled position. The money will not come from reserves,” he said. Hudson made a motion, which was seconded by Crawford.
Magee disagreed saying, “I do not feel we are being forthright to the taxpayers because at the current time the county is not giving any concessions to the employees and here we are closing for a week. While I would like to get the employees everything, I have a problem going along with this motion. It was so hard to get this budget passed,” he concluded.
Hudson said, “The budget that we did approve cut $135,000 from the previous budget and we had a carryover. While the county may not be doing anything for the holidays, the county is absorbing the increase in medical benefit payments and we are not.”
When the motion came to the vote, both Hudson and Magee voted no, with Crawford voting yes. This concluded the business for the year.
Leah Stratmann may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org