By BEN GRAFTON
As the first matter of business at the Freeport Council meeting of Aug. 14, City Planner Latilda Henninger brought to the Council a development application submitted by Southern Wines and Spirits for a distribution center to be located at the south west corner of Bulldog Road. The center will consist of an office and a warehouse. The zoning designation is I-2. All requirements have been met and the Planning Board recommended approval. Noland Baker, representing Southern Wine and Spirits told the Council that, with approval, construction equipment would start moving to the site on Aug. 15. The Council approved the application.
Henninger then introduced an application submitted by C.W. Roberts for a borrow pit to be located on a 155 acre site about 3.4 miles north of the junction of SR-20 and U.S. 331 By-pass. The zoning category is I-2. The project consists of a borrow pit, an office and a scale building. Except for one permit, which is expected to be delivered at any time, all requirements have been met and the Planning Board recommended approval. The final development order will be issued as soon as the outstanding permit is received. The pre-development conference is scheduled for Aug. 15. The Planning Board is still reviewing language about different types of landfills and will review this subject with engineers at the September meeting. Language in the enabling ordinance ensures that no landfill or salvage yard will exist on this site. A note stating these limitations will be added to the development order. The Council approved the application subject to receipt of the outstanding permit.
City Attorney Clayton Adkinson told the Council that the interlocal agreement concerning oversight of fire department operations the between the sheriff’s office and the city has been reviewed. A couple of changes have been made and the agreement sent back to the sheriff’s office. The agreement spells out the duties of the sheriff’s personnel at the fire department. The agreement can be terminated with 30 days notice. The Council approved.
Adkinson reminded the Council that the final budget hearing at 7 p.m. on Sept. 25 needs to be set. The Council approved the date and time.
The fire department reported that in the three-week July period supervised by the sheriff’s personnel, the department ran 59 calls of which 35 were medical, 5 were vehicle crashes, one structure fire, three car fires, three brush fires and a number of service type calls. During this period firefighters amassed 100 hours of training.
Engineer Charlie Cotton reported that ball field project is ready to be put out for bids this week. Details of the bids will be presented at the next Council meeting. The Council approved asking for bids.
Engineer Cliff Knauer advised the Council that the water and sewer models, together, will cost about $46,000. One of the things that needs to be determined is what pressure the system is pushing against at the lift stations. The model will collect system information all the way to the plant. This information could be used to make the system more efficient.
Mayor Mickey Marse told the Council that one of the things requested of the engineers is to look into is the Miley Creek area. He reported that when the pump on CR-3280 is running, the Miley Creek area will not push into it. No corrective action needs to be taken right now, but everybody needs to be thinking about this for action in the future.
Councilman Harold Taunton said, “It has come to my attention that the city attorney is not covering Ben Greenslait with his legal matter.”
Adkinson replied, that in regards to the issue concerning certification, he doesn’t know if there is a conflict, but there are some other matters that may be criminal charges and he thinks that those issues are a conflict.
Adkinson advised the Council that he called the mayor last week when he became aware that there were certain investigations going on. If those investigations lead to charges being brought, then a conflict would exist between interests of the city and the fire chief. As a result he has recommended to the mayor and to the fire chief that the fire chief should seek independent counsel.
Adkinson also said, “We represent, collectively, the city of Freeport. And if you are charged or somebody sues you or the city in a civil matter, the insurance company and myself would represent you, but when it involves a possible criminal matter, that perhaps relates to matters within this city, no, that’s a different situation….My first role is here to this Council and not to Chief Greenslait. And I didn’t want to get myself in a conflict with Ben with me giving him advice about how he should respond to any investigation. And that is why I recommended to Ben, and I have talked to the mayor about this, that he should seek independent counsel for advice for any interviews that anyone would conduct, especially in regard to any criminal matter.”