By REID TUCKER
The Walton County Health Department may soon open a branch within Paxton’s city limits, something the Town Council agreed would be a boon to residents.
Mayor Hayward Thomas told the Council at its meeting on Sept. 18 that Health Department higher-ups had extended the offer to open a location in Paxton, provided the city pays for the building itself or else joins with Walton County in a state grant to get the funds that way.
Thomas’ recommendation to the Council was for the city to make provision for a modular building in the soon-to-be approved Fiscal Year 2013 budget rather than go the route of waiting 60-90 days for the grant to clear. Thomas said he had found examples of modular buildings meeting the Health Department’s space and capacity requirements that go for about $5,000, with both setup and installation included in the price. The Council discussed the best location for the building should it be bought, with Thomas suggesting a spot near the Walton County Sheriff’s Office substation, since parking space is already available.
The Council did not make a motion at the meeting regarding the purchase of the building, deferring the decision until a future meeting. However, all board members agreed that a Health Department branch would be a great addition for Paxton, and especially the city’s older residents, who have problems getting Florida Medicare approved by nearby healthcare locations in Alabama.
Additionally, at the advisement of the mayor and water department head Frank Burlison, the Council voted 5-0 to install security lights at the five lift stations used by the city’s water and sewer system. Each lift station will have two lights installed, with the cost of operation each month coming in at about $10 per location. In other water and sewer news, the Council also approved the first reading of an ordinance adopting a well-head protection plan, with the vote for final approval to come at next month’s meeting.
A resolution to adopt Walton County’s Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan also passed unanimously when put to the vote. The resolution’s purpose is to provide the county (and all the municipalities therein) with a single reference for coordinating recovery efforts and decision making after a severe natural disaster, namely a hurricane. The resolution, which was developed in accordance with the Walton County Comprehensive plan, also details preventative actions that can be taken prior to a disaster to better prepare for and speed up recovery after the event.
The brief meeting concluded with an announcement that the Council will hold a special meeting on Friday, Sept. 28, at 1 p.m. in order to approve the final Fiscal Year 2013 budget as well as to amend over expenditures in each department and to approve transfers in and transfers out. As at any other meeting held at Town Hall, the public is invited to attend.