By BEN GRAFTON
The Freeport City Council meeting of March 12 began when Melinda Wickham and Terry Dawkins of the Choctawhatchee Military Council, which has a goal to recognize individual service members and foster mutual understanding and close cooperation between military and community leaders, presented a plaque to the city in appreciation for its support.
The initial business item on the agenda was the first reading, by City Planner Latilda Hughes, of a proposed ordinance to revise the Industrial Use section of the Land Development Code. The reading and authorization for advertising for the second reading on April 9 was approved.
Hughes then introduced a request sent by Christine Sammelmann of the Walton County Graphic Information Systems Department (GIS) asking for participation by data and GIS users in a new software package said to provide greater functionality and multiuser capability. The annual total cost of this new package, according to GIS, would be $55,000 of which Freeport’s share would be $1,000. The Council approved participation in the new software package.
Capt. Thomas Palmer of the Freeport Fire Department reported that during February the department responded to 41 medical calls, five car accidents and three structure fires and firefighters participated in 480 man hours of training.
Parks Director Shane Supple advised the Council that the proceeds of the Easter car show will be donated to Wounded Warrior in Hammock Bay.
City Clerk Robin Haynes presented the proposed swimming pool operating schedule and rules for the coming season. Under this proposal the pool will be open from Memorial Day weekend (May 25, 2013) through Labor Day. Normal hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and the pool will be closed on Wednesdays for maintenance and training. A certified pool operator and two certified lifeguards will be on duty during pool hours. The pool will close if a lightning strike is detected within a 10-mile radius of the pool. Anyone under the age of 16 using the facility must be accompanied by an adult. Admittance will be $1 for children and $2 for adults.
Supple gave the Council an update on the plans for the rodeo. The location will be moved from the soccer fields to the three acres that were cleared for two additional ball fields. The county will help by cleaning the three-acre field.
Engineer Charlie Cotton of Preble-Rish reported that the installation of the new valve on the Portland tank will begin on March 18. The work is projected to be complete on March 22.
Cotton also reported that the chlorine equipment has been relocated at No 4 Well and that electrical work should be completed by March 18.
The Council approved a schedule for interviewing fire chief candidates Brian Eddins, Charles Frank, Chad Harrell and Lewis Stewart at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10.
Councilman Ray Jackson asked Cotton if any explanation has been found for the different percolation rates from storm water retention ponds at the Cross Creek development. Cotton replied he was not aware of any new information at this time, but he will follow up on this subject.