By REID TUCKER
The Paxton Town Council’s took a major step toward getting the city’s sewer system update project underway, unanimously approving a contract with the city’s new grant administrator.
The board members, sans Charles Cook, who was absent at the regularly scheduled May 20 Town Council meeting, cast straight votes to hire Robert Jones of Jones-Phillips & Associates, Inc., to provide grant administrator services for Paxton. Jones said the grant application process is winding down, and the state is expected to send a contract formally offering the grant of $600,000 to be used for the sewer system improvement project by next month. Work on the project should follow shortly after, possibly as early as July.
On a related matter, Mayor Hayward Thomas got the Council’s approval to amend the city’s Fiscal Year 2014 sewer budget to include the incoming grant money, as is required by Florida statute. The budget will be amended to account for the intended revenue source and the related expenditure associated with the sewer project.
City Attorney Clay Adkinson turned in the finalized version of the agreement between Paxton and the local Masonic Lodge with regard to preparing some of the city’s available commercial property to revive the dormant Heritage Festival. The Lodge approached the city several months back about re-starting the festival, but the desired event staging area is currently being pushed by the board as a prime location for attracting a new business to Paxton, thus necessitating an agreement between the two parties.
According to the terms of the agreement, the Lodge will be given at least a 30-day notification to vacate the property if a new business wishes to locate on the property. Any improvements made by the Masons at the property, located just north of Town Hall along U.S. 331, will have to be left on-site unless they are of a removable nature. Finally, the Lodge will be charged a nominal rent of $1 per year for the use of the site until or if a new business comes to town.
The Council voted 4-0 to approve the agreement, and the Lodge members in attendance at the meeting also voiced their willingness to accept the terms.
The final item of the agenda was to set a limit of $1,500 on the city’s credit card for employee use, with the provision that no Council approval is needed for a charge or charges totaling $1,000 or less. Anything above that amount will be required to come before the board.
By REID TUCKER