By ALICIA LEONARD
Sidewalks, natural gas, grants and fishing dominated the March 9 DeFuniak Springs City Council meeting. Councilman James Coffield was absent.
David King, on behalf of the Kiwanis Club of DeFuniak Springs, was first up in front of the Council. King received unanimous approval to present another Take A Kid Fishing Day. The event will be held in the Lakeyard on May 9 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Next up, DeFuniak Springs Fire Chief Brian Coley received unanimous approval to purchase a new car for the department. The cost of the car for the chief was included in this year’s budget and will replace a 13-year old model driven by Coley. Total cost for the new car is $20,856.
Assistant City Manager Bill Holloway approached the Council next. Holloway received unanimous approval on all of the projects and request he put forth to the Council. The first project entailed a cooperative agreement between the city and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as well as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for a spot of troubled road located on Fifth Street and Chaffin Avenue. The USDA and NRCS will give up to $75,000 and the city will add $25,000 to repair and install stabilization structures to prevent erosion and to protect the road. Holloway received the compliments of the Council of the difficult task of bring the agencies together to get the funds for the majority of repairs.
Holloway then received approval for $19,897.71 bid by Precision Sidewalk Safety Corp., for repairs to sidewalks on Circle Drive, east and west Main Street and Chipley Park. Holloway said 579 trip hazards were corrected through a process that did not include removing the entire slab and saved surrounding trees and flora. The Council then approved the purchase for a compact pedestrian trencher for the Public Works department for $13, 242.83.
Michael Canaday then presented to the Council sketches of possible landscaping for the Highway Beautification Grant secured through the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Canaday proposed native trees and flowers for the project intended to improved the visual appeal of some stretches of U.S. 90 east and west.
C.J. Arnold then approached the Council with a in-depth study and recommendations on the city’s natural gas system. Among some of the recommendations the Council heard were replacing older meters, the possibility of hiring or retaining an agent to participate in a co-op to handle the purchasing of supply and simplification of rates from a flat rate with a gas adjustment factor. The Council thanked Arnold for the presentation but made no motion on the report. They discussed the possibility of a work shop on the issue in the future.
City Manager Kim Kirby told the Council that the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce/ DeFuniak Springs Area is hosting a Chamber roundtable from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Mar. 12 at the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood to provide an opportunity for area business to have some discussions on concerns and challenges affecting them.
The next city Council meeting is scheduled for Mar. 23 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.