By BEN GRAFTON
Before a somewhat larger audience than usual for the Freeport City Council meeting of Oct. 25, City Planner Latilda Henninger introduced the subject of a proposed agreement between the city and the developer, Mr. McLaughlin, of the Cross Creek Subdivision, that would transfer responsibility for infrastructure maintenance to the city at the end of a three-year period. The transfer would be subject to a satisfactory certified engineer’s report on the infrastructure system at the end of the three-year period. The developer would pay for the inspection.
In addition, the developer asked the Council to accept and sign the subdivision plat as a prerequisite so that a builder who has purchased 40 of the subdivision’s 137 lots may start construction in November on eight of his lots. The homes to be built will be good quality and will sell in a range of $169,000 to $199,000. The Council agreed to fulfill the request.
In order to facilitate the maintenance agreement, McLaughlin has already signed the proposed agreement. He has also delivered a $265,000 check, to be used to establish an escrow account which the city could use to correct infrastructure problems if the developer failed to do so during the three year waiting period.
Concern about the present condition of the Cross Creek storm water system was expressed by Council members due to a recent incident in which a section of roadway over part of the system collapsed with a city truck on it, injuring the driver. McLaughlin reported that work to repair the failure was underway, but because the site is still wet from recent rain, the contractor has been unable to compact the fill used to close the breach so the asphalt can be restored. It was also reported that the storm water system has been inspected with cameras and is ready to go.
The city will not a sign an agreement accepting maintenance responsibility until the final certified inspection is done.
The first reading of the draft ordinance proposing changes to industrial land use regulations was tabled until the next meeting so that the Council has enough time to review the proposed changes.
Henninger announced that at 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2, at Freeport’s Four Mile Creek Park, there will be an official designation ceremony for the Freeport Working Waterfront project. This will be followed by a small reception at the Blount House.
Fire Chief Al Ford invited Council members to join Freeport Fire Department personnel at a pot luck fellowship supper on Nov. 6.
Ford also announced that fliers have been prepared for the Freeport Thanksgiving Food Basket Program applications. The fliers read, “Applications will be available on Nov. 10, 2012, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Freeport Old Post Office. Applications will be accepted from families who are in need from the Freeport Community (this includes Portland to 3280 East).” There will be five locations where people can drop off food and donations for the program. These are: the Freeport Dollar General; Freeport City Hall; the Freeport Fire Station; T J’s Table; and the Food Depot
City Clerk Robin Haynes reported that four estimates have been received for an electrical upgrade at the Fire Department. Chief Ford has given each contractor a list of needed items. Councilman Earl King asked the Council to accept the estimates and then have Ford review each one to make sure they all include the same work and provisions. Ford can then come back to the Council for approval.
Engineer Charlie Cotton of Preble-Rish told the Council that the pre-construction conference for the No 4 Well House project will be held on Oct. 31 and that requests for bids for the control valve project have been sent.
Ken Little and a representative of the Matrix Design Group advised the Council that the Tri-County Small Area Study to address issues between local communities and Eglin Air Force Base has been completed. The proposals given are recommendations only. Tools, tailored to city needs, have been developed to identify ways of achieving compatibility between local building regulations and study recommendations. The study does not seek to overregulate, but it does seek means to ensure citizen safety. The focus is on limiting vertical construction to a maximum of 45 feet within flight corridors. Recommendations would only be applied to new construction.
There were no comments from the Council.
Bob Levin, accompanied by wife Sarah, made a proposal to produce, at no charge, an “outstanding map” of the city of Freeport in exchange for a list of businesses in the city and a letter of introduction from the mayor to the businesses. Levin said similar maps have been very well received by other communities. The city would proof the map before it goes to print. Each advertiser and the city would receive a laminated copy of the map. The Council agreed to the proposal.
Mayor Mickey Marse asked the Council for approval to hire two new employees for the water department. He said the department has been running short handed for some time. Advertising for the job openings will be done after Haynes attends a personnel workshop.
Tim Ard addressed the Council and announced that on Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day, in a ceremony with a guest speaker, the new “Fallen Soldier” monument will be added to the veteran’s memorial at City Hall.