By BEN GRAFTON
At the beginning of a very short meeting of the Freeport City Council on March 28, City Clerk Robin Haynes announced that the testing of candidates for the shift lieutenant positions in the Freeport Fire Department has been completed. Terry Raffield, Jr., Austin Cosson and Ritchie Riley, had the top test scores and they were approved by the Council to fill the jobs.
A special Council meeting to interview candidates for the fire chief’s job has been scheduled for April 10.
Capt. Tom Palmer of the fire department asked the Council for approval to pursue a 50/50 grant from the Florida Division of Forestry to upgrade some of the firefighters’ gear that is worn and in need of replacement. The total cost of the gear would be between $3,800 and $4,200, so the city’s share would be one-half of the total. The fire department has used this type of grant in the past. The Council approved applying for the grant.
Parks Director Shane Supple asked the Council for approval to buy a new lawnmower at the state contract price. The cost of this type of machine was $8,800 when purchased three years ago. The purchase is budgeted. The Council approved the request.
Supple reminded the Council that the Annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Sport Complex would start at 10 a.m. on Saturday and it would be preceded by the car show at 9 a.m. Preparations for the rodeo are moving forward.
Anna Hudson of Preble-Rish Engineering reported the status of three projects: The No. 4 Well control house job has been inspected and a punch list of corrections has been prepared and forwarded to the contractor for action. The work on the altitude valve project for the Portland water tank may be completed next week. The water system model is approximately 90-percent complete.
Mayor Mickey Marse advised the Council that a request for a waiver of fees for use of the Community Center for an all day seminar has been received from the Walton-Okaloosa Council on Aging. The City Council approved the request.
The Council approved a motion to file suit against the Bishop’s Landing property owner who, after being sent a 30-day notice to improve/clean up the property, has not taken necessary action.
Councilman Ray Jackson opened a discussion about the rapid draw-down rate of water from one of the storm water retention ponds in the Cross Creek development. Councilman Earl King reported that he believes the water going to this pond is going straight to the creek. Engineer Charlie Cotton will meet with King at the pond where they will survey the pond for deficiencies.