By REID TUCKER
The Paxton Town Council wrapped up a year’s worth of city business by voting unanimously to approve the renewal of the interlocal agreement with the Paxton Dixie Youth League.
The Council members have on several occasions voiced concern over some practices of the league’s management, which allegedly included leaving lights on at the park after game times and running air conditioning temperatures lower than necessary. Since the city pays for water and lights at the park (though it reserves the right to terminate payment at any time with a 30 days’ notice), it was of utmost concern to councilman Charles Cook, the newly appointed head of the city’s parks and recreation, that newly elected Dixie Youth President Matt Mitchell address these issues at the Town Council’s regular monthly meeting on Dec. 21.
Upon signing the interlocal agreement, Mitchell told the Council members that initiatives have been taken to ensure that more discipline is taken with the facilities at the ballpark. He said a lock box had been installed over the thermostat, to which Dixie Youth possesses only two keys, and the Town Council. Also, Mitchell assured the Council that no one, not even league officers, will be at the park if there is not a game or some other league function underway.
“All I can do is the best I can do,” Mitchell said. “We appreciate everything the city does for us. If we didn’t have [the Council] paying the light bill we wouldn’t be able to survive up there. Then the communities of Lockhart, Florala, Paxton and Laurel Hill wouldn’t have the great facility that we have right now.”
As per the agreement, the Dixie Youth League is responsible for cleaning up after games and paying for all maintenance and any damages incurred to the city’s property at the complex and must provide proof of insurance to the Council.
The Council blazed through the rest of its agenda, approving plans to sell two of its older service pickup trucks and purchase a trailer to haul two 150-gallon tanks, one for water and the other for fuel. The board also voted to accept Kelson Electric Co.’s bid for improvements to the city’s well. The project carries a lump sum of $15,400, but the city will only be liable for $3,400 of that amount as it received a grant from the Northwest Florida Water Management District to the tune of $12,000 that has already been applied to the cost of the renovation.
Mayor Hayward Thomas reported to the Council that the interior remodeling project of the Agricultural Center, in the works for the better part of half a year, has finally been completed. All new nonslip tile has been laid inside the building and the mayor commended the work done by the inmate labor secured via the city’s partnership with the Walton County Correctional Institution.
The Council concluded the meeting following a motion made by Thomas to waive rental fees to non-profit organizations or churches for the use of Town Hall and the Agricultural Center. The Council was very much behind the proposal and the motion was swiftly seconded and approved when put to the vote.
“I’m really in favor of that,” Councilman Bobby Kemp said. “If [organizations] are not using the buildings for no profit whatsoever and doing things for the community, I say let them have it as far as I’m concerned.”