By REID TUCKER
The Paxton Town Council, armed with new reports from the Florida Department of Transportation, plans to continue pursuing the installation of a caution light in the city limits.
The FDOT crash reports in question show that, since 2004, six of the last 10 accidents to have taken place in Paxton occurred at the intersection of U.S. 331 and County Highway 147 West, including the most recent one last December. This accident and several others are thought to have involved fatalities.
The Council members’ consensus at the January meeting was to have City Attorney Lori Bytell draft a resolution for the city to acquire a traffic signal device at the intersection. Bytell told the Council at its most recent meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21, that she had finished preparing the resolution and had also been in contact with representatives of the Florida League of Cities and DeFuniak Springs City Attorney Clayton Adkinson regarding the procedures necessary to obtain a new caution light. Bytell suggested that the Council begin formulating a more definite plan of action once she presents the League of Cities with the new FDOT study and also said it would be more advantageous to adopt the resolution at that time.
Bytell planned to keep in close contact with Adkinson and DeFuniak Springs Mayor Harold Carpenter, who may be able to provide Paxton with additional information on the issue of getting a new traffic light.
The Council as recently as within the last three years tried to have a traffic light installed at the intersection of U.S. 331 and County Highway 147, but the FDOT study conducted at that time found that the intersection did not qualify for a traffic control device with a red light. For this reason, the Council made its decision to move ahead with plans for a flashing yellow caution light instead.
Other items on the agenda at the February Town Council meeting included discussion to renew the city’s contract with the Paxton Dixie Youth League, which is slated to begin its summer baseball season in a few months’ time. The renewal agreement contained no changes and the motion to approve re-upping the contract passed unanimously when put to the vote. Dixie Youth League representatives in attendance at the meeting also requested permission to use city property for a fundraiser at a future date, something the Council agreed to consider once all the information regarding the fundraiser has been submitted for review.
The Council also unanimously voted to endorse a proclamation establishing a Paxton School-sponsored anti-tobacco campaign. “Kick Butts Day,” which will be held at the school on March 21, is aimed at informing students of all ages aware of the dangers posed by cigarettes.
The city awarded a contract to Evan’s Carpet City of DeFuniak Springs for the installation of semi-skid tile at the Paxton Post Office. Two companies submitted quotes for the Council’s approval, but Evan’s Carpet City won out with a bid of $1,084.78 for the 18-by-18 area.
Finally, Walton County Economic Development Alliance Managing Director Scarlett Phaneuf updated the Council on the status of bringing a Dollar General store to Paxton. She has been extensively working on the project in the past months and, though representatives from Dollar General initially said Paxton was too small a market for a new store, Phaneuf said she informed Dollar General that the city had no grocery store and would strongly support a new retail location. She also told Dollar General representatives that the city is willing to offer property and infrastructure incentives if the company should open a store in Paxton.
Phaneuf told the Council she would continue to pursue communications with Dollar General and will update the Council with any new information she receives.