Story by JEFFREY POWELL
The Freeport City Council held its first regularly scheduled meeting of the month on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at the Freeport city hall. Approximately 30 members of the general public were on hand for the meeting. Council member Jennifer Laird was not in attendance.
After approving a consent agenda council members were briefed by CRC Data Technologies IT Service Manager Scott Sexton concerning the city’s computer systems. Sexton recommended the purchase of four new computers and several upgrades which would help the city with security needs and access control of their system. He pointed out that the current configuration was working with residential routers and no firewall protection. The council approved a 48-month lease at $419.62 per month for the system upgrades and computers. The council also approved computer upgrades for the sewer department which should be more compatible with current software.
Under the sewer department heading an extended conversation arose concerning a recent warning letter from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The letter cited several deficiencies at the Freeport sewer plant and demanded a response within 15 days. Mayor Russ Barley and other Freeport representatives are to meet with FDEP officials on Thursday, March 16. Freeport Engineer Cliff Knauer spoke to the council and said many of the deficiencies could be corrected with minimal effort. Council member Eddie Farris requested that such letters be included in their meeting packets to help council members be better informed.
Under Council member Farris’ heading he spoke of the need for some type of traffic control on Madison Street and Blue Ridge Parkway. Apparently drivers are using Blue Ridge Parkway as a short cut around Publix to and from U.S. 20 and U.S. 331. Farris also asked commissioners to approve a construction plan for sidewalks connecting Freeport to the Village’s housing complex. He noted that many students and parents use this area as pedestrians and that safety was an issue. Council member Kasey Cuchens had hoped to procure a grant for this work but Farris cited safety concerns for his timing. “I have been trying to get sidewalks in this area since coming to the council,” said Farris. “We have to keep our citizens safe.” The council approved the effort with Cuchens voting no.
Story by JEFFREY POWELL