DeFuniak Springs City Council Nov. 28 meeting talks about agendas, airport and city manager

DeFuniak Springs – As there were no minutes to approve at the Nov. 28 DeFuniak Springs City Council meeting, the council moved on to the consent agenda and citizen comments. Currently, the agenda reads “Consent agenda items to be removed for further discussion” then “Citizen comments” followed by the consent agenda. The council and mayor requested the citizen comments come first, before the two consent agenda items on future agendas as there has been some confusion as to how to proceed. In September the council voted unanimously to use a consent agenda. It was put in place at the October 10 meeting.
A consent agenda is a method for boards and government entities to deal with routine items in a single action rather than voting on each item separately. This saves meeting time. It does require a roll call vote; each council member must individually state their vote.The Walton County Board of County Commissioners has used a consent agenda for years. The financial director’s bill ratification and CD renewals will be permanently placed in this category.
Nov. 28 items approved were a request by Public Works to sell surplus vehicles, a request by Connie Strickland to demolish the damaged back area of her Baldwin Street business, which is in the historic district; a request to establish a new work boot policy for city employees; and an agreement defining subcontractors’ duties and qualifications at Magnolia Cemetery.
Under the citizen comments, Monda Duncan, chair of the Special Events Committee, reported that 150 people and Santa Claus attended the Friday night movie event held Nov. 25 in the amphitheater. She also announced “Christmas With The Celts,” a free musical event from 3-5 p.m. on Dec. 4 at the amphitheater. If there is rain it will be moved to the civic center. Citizen Michelle Kitch approached the podium and asked about the legality of the golf carts used in town by UPS during the holiday season. She said she’d not seen tags on the carts and whether or not they were street legal was brought up. Police Chief Mark Weeks said the matter had been dealt with that UPS would be liable for their carts. It was then determined that any issue regarding the carts should be addressed to the police department and citizens should make a formal complaint.
Carl Everitt, CEO and owner of Monarch Aviation asked for changes in the proposed commercial hangar agreement at the Municipal Airport. Monarch is a FAA certified avionic repair, installation and upgrade business renting at the airport for more than 10 years. It is currently paying for a monthly 70′ x 70′ hangar of $625 on a year-to-year basis. The lease agreement beginning in Feb. 2017, calls for $1,000 a month. Everitt requested that agreement be changed to $800 a month for five years and negating the section regarding a lessee deposit. Councilman Mac Carpenter made a motion to make the lease a three-year agreement charging Monarch $800 the first year, $900 the second, and $1,000 the third. Council woman Janie Griffith seconded the motion allowing further discussion. Everitt came forward citing the 10-year prior rental, the option to move to a less expensive airport and Monarch’s commitment to the community, using sports involvement and opening the business to the public during the “Marvel of Flight” events. Carpenter asked him if he would agree to the three-year option. Everitt said he thought he could agree.  The motion was changed to reflect a yearly revisit to the lease after the three-year plan; after that, the rental rate would be based on the consumer rate index. The vote passed 4-1 with Henry Ennis voting nay.
Michelle Kitch approached the council again when Carpenter revisited the city manager position. The city has been operating with Interim Manager Tillman Mears since April after the resignation of acting manager Sarah Bowers March 28. Kitch came forward after Carpenter made a motion to uphold the law regarding a unanimous vote to approve a city manager and Griffith seconded it for the sake of further discussion Recently the council moved to change it to a 4-1 approval, this after Carpenter had voted nay on making Mears a permanent manager. Kitch addressed Carpenter as to his lack of agreement with the other council members. Carpenter told Kitch his position was not a personal attack on Mears, rather it was based on the council considering external candidates. Carpenter’s motion failed 4-1. And the question was brought up, how long can an interim remain an interim?