By BEN GRAFTON
At the Freeport City Council meeting of Oct. 9, a lengthy discussion developed about an incident in which a city sewer line backed up through a gravity flow line into a lady’s house. The incident occurred when the heavy rains (11 inches) of a few weeks ago overloaded the capacity of the sewer lines in that area. The city sent a clean-up crew to the house. The city’s insurance company has refused to pay for the repairs.
City Attorney Clayton Adkinson suggested the lady probably has a claim against her own company. Another suggestion was made that the city should have an independent firm look at the situation and come back with a recommendation of how to correct the problem. Councilman Earl King said he would like to see consideration given to either using a grinder pump or a back-flow preventer to keep the problem from happening again.
In another matter, engineer Cliff Knauer of Preble-Rish asked the Council to give him direction of what to send to the Water Management District with regard to extending city water lines to Bruce. He said, “I don’t know what the Council would like us to submit to Water Management, but whatever we are going to submit, we have to submit soon.” In the discussion that followed several possible alternate routes for the extension were discussed. King said, “It looks like we should try for the whole enchilada… from J.W. Hollingsworth all the way around and see what we get. That would definitely complete that loop and help the system as a whole.” The Council gave approval to Knauer to use this approach.
In other business: Interim Fire Chief Al Ford commented in his opening remarks, “It’s just about getting to the point that I can call Freeport ‘family’.” He then proceeded to present the Fire Department report for September. He reported, “For the month of September the department ran 50 medical calls, one structure fire, one brush fire and several minor calls.” In addition, the department conducted several training sessions for career and volunteer members: two sessions were at night, one on a Saturday and it sent members to several classes in Niceville. The department also participated in the Kid’s Fun Day at the Sports Complex, the Freeport High School Homecoming parade and presented several CPR classes in the city and the county.
Mayor Mickey Marse asked the Council to approve the 2012-2013 interlocal fire department funding agreement with the county. City Clerk Robin Haynes reported that the only change in the agreement was to lower the funding level from $275,000 last year to $260,000 for this year. The Council approved acceptance of the agreement.
Engineer Charlie Cotton of Preble-Rish reported that the bids for the new well house at No. 4 Well have been received. The low bid of $69,530 was submitted by Wisco Electric. The high bid was $149,700. According to Cotton, the budget for the job is $75,000. The Council approved awarding the work to the low bidder.
Cotton opened a discussion on the water/sewer model project. Haynes reported discussing with Adkinson whether or not impact fees could be used. In turn, the city’s auditors were approached and they made a determination that the impact fees could be used. Marse said, “We desperately need this model.” The Council approved going ahead with the project.
Marse advised the Council that a request for approval of funding for the Walton County Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA) has been received.
WCEDA Director Scarlett Phaneuf asked to bring the Council up to date on activity. She said, “Southern Wines and Spirits has broken ground for their project in the Industrial Park and Preble-Rish has completed the changes to our master plan for Phase II in the Industrial Park. Site preparation for this work will not start until the first of the year.”
Phaneuf also reported that Walton County had been turned down as a possible plant site for a German company which indicated they preferred a location in a metropolitan community and they also found that the time required to get approval here of a development order was too long.
After Phaneuf’s remarks the Council approved the funding request.