City of Freeport must fill council seat [PREMIUM]

Freeport City Council approves special event Apple Classic 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run


The Freeport City Council met Tuesday, Oct. 11, for their regular meeting. City Attorney Clay Adkinson informed the council of Tripp Hope’s resignation from the council. Hope, a long-time employee of Walton County School Board, has recently retired, and Florida law mandates that members of the Florida Retirement System (FRS) cannot work for any FRS organization in any capacity for at least a year, including Hope’s seat on the council. The council will work on electing a new candidate in a future meeting. 

City Manager Mark Martin then approached the board to announce park updates. The splash pad will officially close on Oct. 24, with the last day of use being Oct. 23. Also, there will be a Free Trunk Or Treat and Movie Event, on Oct. 29 at the Freeport Regional Sports Complex, starting at 5 p.m. The city of Freeport will be featuring the movie “Monsters Inc.” on a big projection screen. 

The parks department currently has four employees, with a fifth starting soon, but only three vehicles. There was an attempt made last year to buy a pick-up truck, but the deal subsequently fell through. A suitable truck has been located, but it will need to be ordered and is $10,000 over budget because of fees. A motion was passed to approve the over-budget purchase. 

Discussion moved on to the investment of a new electronic sign to be put inside the shell of the current one in front of City Hall. After further inspection it appears that the entire sign needs to be upgraded, leading the cost to exceed the allotted amount of $25,000. There will need to be a bidding process to ensure that price is appropriate. No action needed to be taken at this meeting, and bids will be brought to a future meeting. 

Attorney Adkinson discussed the Four Mile Road dilemma recently brought forward. A developer has bought land along Four Mile Road and is attempting to replace the water and sewer lines to accommodate future development. Adkinson’s research shows that the lines could have been installed around the ’70s, meaning documentation of permits for the lines may be nonexistent or not locatable. Also, it appears the lines are located where the road existed prior to paving. With all this in mind, Adkinson said he does feel comfortable moving forward until all residents have given easement onto their property for new sewer and water lines. This project will need to be accomplished sooner rather than later, so Adkinson recommended allowing city employees to reach out to the current owners of the existing property on Four Mile Road to ask for easements and assure owners that any damaged property will be fixed. A motion was passed to allow for city employees to move forward. 

Alex Rouchaleau then approached the board to review the water tank repainting bids. Two bids were placed, one for $328,100 from US Tank and one for $318,448 from Tank Pro. A motion was passed to approve the lowest bid from Tank Pro. Rouchaleau then discussed the proposed change order, since the previously discussed one fell through due to USDA refusing the rise in cost. The contractor will be covering the difference, but a new change order has been created for electrical equipment and design, for the total of $58,333.37. A motion was passed to approve the new change order.