By BEN GRAFTON
The Freeport City Council meeting of Jan. 23 was called to order by Councilwoman Janice McLean, serving in the place of Mayor Russ Barley, who was out of town.
City Planner Latilda Hughes presented, as the first order of business, the second reading of the Military Sustainability Ordinance which will authorize changes in the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Code. The ordinance was adopted by the Council.
Hughes then asked for Council approval to schedule two public meetings for the readings of a draft golf cart ordinance. The Council approved the request and scheduled the meetings as parts of the regular Council meetings of Feb. 11 and March 11, 2014.
Fire Chief Chad Harrell asked the Council to review the proposed mutual aid agreement with the Walton County Fire Department. Harrell also said he would talk to Chief Coley about some revisions to the agreement. The agreement will be discussed at the next Council meeting.
City Clerk Robin Haynes reported that the West Florida Regional Planning Council had noticed a mistake, on their part, in a recent resolution which they have asked the city to revise. She said that everything is still the same, they just corrected some of the wording. The Council approved making the requested change.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Brannon advised the Council that in March the League of Cities will send a delegation to Tallahassee to lobby for legislation needed by its membership. She asked the Council members to provide feedback to her on matters they believe should be presented to the legislators.
Brannon then reported she asked for, “…a list…of every city with a population of 2,500 residents that has a fully funded, paid and staffed, city fire department. Freeport is the only one. So there is not anybody [for us]… to reach out to … and find how they are funding their fire department. We are the only one.”
Brannon continued, “I got some information from Ken Small who gave me this … spread sheet of all 410 cities in the state of Florida and it has everyone’s millage rate. From the highest millage rate to the lowest millage rate, (the highest millage rate in the state of Florida is 10). Of all of these cities in the state of Florida, as if last year, we were 195. We have a higher millage rate than DeFuniak, Panama City, Pensacola, Lynnhaven, Port St. Joe, Tallahassee, Niceville, Gulf Breeze and Destin.”
By BEN GRAFTON