By BEN GRAFTON
The business portion of the Feb. 11 Freeport Council meeting opened when City Planner Latilda Hughes addressed the subject of the draft Freeport Golf Cart Ordinance. In the discussion that followed these points were made: golf carts are designed for a maximum speed of about 20 miles per hour on golf courses. If used on city streets a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour would be imposed. Drivers would have to be at least 16 years old. Signs would be posted on streets where golf cart operation would be permitted and, for nighttime operation, headlights, turn signals, brake lights and windshields would be required. Vehicle registration would not be required.
Councilman Harold Taunton proposed establishing a fine of up to $100 for violators. The ordinance could be enforced by the sheriff’s office and a Circuit Court judge would impose the fine for violations. The city would receive a portion of the fines imposed by the court.
Attorney Clay Adkinson observed that incidents involving golf cart operation could expose the city to claims and that insurance to cover this possibility should be provided.
Hughes will use the comments to revise the draft and she will ask the sheriff to review the revised version.
Fire Chief Chad Harrell reported: The department responded to 41 calls during January including 23 medical calls. Firefighters participated in 55 hours of training. Maintenance was performed on 78 hydrants. And, the mutual aid agreement with Walton County is under review by Walton County staff.
Parks Director Shane Supple reported that Special Olympics basketball is underway in Walton County. He also reported receiving favorable comments that call Freeport’s Sports Complex, “A hell of a good ballpark that is kept in good condition.”
Anna Hudson advised the Council that two applications for grants have been submitted to the Water Management District.
Cliff Knauer of Preble-Rish Engineering asked the Council to schedule a workshop to provide guidance for city plans for improvements to roads, parks and utilities. This would enable Preble-Rish to seek grant funds for executing these projects. Arrangements will be made to discuss these subjects at the Feb. 20 meeting.
Knauer also reported that Freeport’s designation as a “Rural Area of Economic Concern” may be extended for the coming year.
Hughes reported to the Council that, “Interest in annexation is moving.” Positive responses from more than 150 of more than 400 parcel owners have been received. She is working with 26 property owners who, “…can come into the city immediately.” She will review these annexations with the city attorney and she will also explore the possibility of annexing property from the CR-3280 and Bay Grove areas into the city.
Taunton asked the Council to officially approve the name of “Marsh Landing at Four Mile Creek” as the name for the city’s water access park.
By BEN GRAFTON