By BEN GRAFTON
At the Freeport City Council meeting of Dec. 12, City Planner Latilda Henninger presented a draft city equine control ordinance the primary purpose of which is to control manure droppings. In effect, the ordinance mandates that any equine animal on public property or rights-of-way within the city be fitted with a manure bag to prevent droppings from being left behind. The ordinance will require people riding or otherwise placing equine animals on public property or rights-of-way to immediately remove any droppings. The sheriff’s department will enforce the ordinance and issue citations which will result in fines to individuals. Fines proposed in the draft start at $75 for a first citation and then $25 more will be added for each subsequent citation. The ordinance as amended was approved by the Council.
Henninger also told the Council, for its information, that the Freeport postmaster told her that federal law will require future residential developments to have central kiosks with individual boxes for mail delivery. The law will not require the kiosks to be installed in existing developments. The city will notify developers of the requirement as a part of the development application process but the city will not be responsible for enforcement of this law. Enforcement, presumably will be done by the U. S. Postal Service.
Interim Fire Chief Al Ford reported that the fire department responded to 38 medical calls, six auto accidents (two of which required med-evac of injured peopled), one structure fire, one land fire, one wood fire and several other miscellaneous calls which pushed the total to 59 in the month of November. A total of 55 hours of training were presented to firefighters and 33 fire hydrants were cleaned and painted.
Ford said that the firefighters accomplished a great feat with Thanksgiving baskets. Eighteen families with 57 people were given food. Through a donation it was possible to provide a turkey for each family. The department is proceeding with a Christmas basket program for 18 families and with toys for 20 children. In addition, the department will host a Christmas fellowship dinner at 6 p.m. on Dec. 22 in the Freeport Community Center. Council and staff are invited to come.
Parks Director Shane Supple reported, “a little bit of vandalism” at the Sports Complex. Someone took a crowbar and pried off the lock on the rolling doors at the concession stand. The sheriff’s department is looking at the security camera to see if the perpetrator can be identified.
Engineer Charlie Cotton told the Council that the No 4 Well project at Windswept is underway. The slab was poured on Monday and walls will be going up soon. According to Cotton, the contractor is getting his bond and work will soon be underway on the control/altitude valve project at Portland and some good progress is being made on the water model project with research and data for a good base map.
Engineer Cliff Knauer told the Council he met with the owner of the Cross Creek development on Dec. 10. It was reported that a work crew of nine people was on the job. The workers removed the concrete form boards and backfilled and sodded areas where it was needed. They also had a water truck and a sweeper out there trying to get the dirt off of the roads. The only remaining task was to finish sweeping the dirt off of the road.
Mayor Mickey Marse advised the Council that the land development code industrial use workshop has been rescheduled for the first Council meeting in January.
City Clerk Robin Haynes recommended that because of several schedule conflicts, the regular Council meeting for Dec. 27 should be cancelled. The Council approved the recommendation.
Approximately 20 job applications have been received for the water department opening and 12 more from certified firefighters for the fire department opening. The applications have all been reviewed twice and a list of nine water department applicants and four fire department applicants will be interviewed. Water department interviews will be held on Dec. 18 and fire department interviews will be held on Dec. 19.
Council approval was asked for and received to send a letter of intent to the Department of Corrections that the city wishes to renew the contract for use of prisoner work crews in 2013.
Marse reported to the Council that Director Scarlett Phaneuf has submitted a letter of resignation to the Walton County Economic Development Alliance Board notifying them that she is accepting a job with the Panama City Economic Development Alliance staff.
Water department employees Ben Lewis and Larry Tuggle have seen a used 30-foot bucket truck that is for sale for about $9,000. Several Council members said they thought this type of equipment would be useful in the city to prune trees, replace bulbs on tall light standards and other tasks of a similar nature. The Council is generally supportive of an offer to purchase the truck, but Councilman Harold Taunton advised the Council find out whether or not the bucket is still certified for use or if not, if it can be re-certified. This point will be checked out and other truck offerings will be checked out on the internet and findings will be reported back at a future meeting.