Story and photo by JENNA BAILEY
On April 9 at 6 p.m. the DeFuniak Springs (DFS) City Council met at DFS City Hall
for the a regular meeting. After the approval of the meeting minutes the council reviewed the Consent Agenda.
Following the approval of the Consent Agenda the council received citizen comments. First to comment for this portion of the meeting was DeFuniak Springs resident, Robert McKnight, who wished to discuss historic preservation and methods as to how to have the City recognized as a National Historic Landmark Destination. The council recommended to McKnight that he have this topic on the agenda at a future meeting for further in-depth discussion.
Second to speak was DeFuniak Springs resident, Erin Glenn, who expressed that she would like to be the first citizen to volunteer to serve on the Charter Review Committee. “I would be delighted to do that. I do have a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University in Washington DC,” said Glenn. “I think it is a great step forward. It is directly addressing some of the things that were in the grand jury report and is a positive direction for our community.” The council thanked Glenn for her statement.
Another citizen comment of interest came from Sharon Grenet of the Walton County Heritage Museum who informed the council and those attending that the museum has received 1,500 visitors since January of this year.
Following citizen comments the meeting transitioned to Agenda Requests. Item 7A under
Agenda Requests was in reference to the “Florida Police Benevolent Association, Inc. agreement” and was presented by Holly Dincman with Coppins Monroe, PA. The request was for approval of the aforementioned agreement on behalf of the city of DeFuniak Springs. A full copy of this agreement is available on the online copy of the April 9 Regular Meeting agenda on the city’s website – www.defuniaksprings.net. The motion carried to approve the request. Item 7B under Agenda Request was “U.S. Hwy 331 Gas System Upgrade and Expansion Project amendment,” presented by Bill Menadier with Dewberry/Preble-Rish. In a letter from Dewberry/Preble Rish to the City Manager, “Dear City Manager, Per the FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) State Funded Grant and Agreement, Dewberry/Preble-Rish will be performing the survey, design, and permitting for the above referenced project. Under this agreement, the design firm cannot perform the Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI). Therefore the Amended Proposal attached excludes the CEI portion, thus reducing our contract amount by $46, 250.000. We respectfully request the City Council to accept this proposal.” The council decided to finish discussing this at a later meeting after further review of the topic.
Item 7C under Agenda Request was presented by Dr. Melinda Henderson representing
St.Agatha’s Episcopal Church. Henderson gave thanks to those that have donated and the council approved the Florida Department of Historical Resources Special Grants category support letter as well as the Florida Department of Historical Resources Special Grants category resolution. Item 7D under Agenda Request was presented by City Clerk Loretta Laird. Laird had three topics to discuss under her request – the first topic being “2018 Florida Association of City Clerks Summer Conference,” The council passed the motion to refer to staff for further discussion. Laird’s second topic regarded her wish to relocate her office to ensure privacy for clients. There was extensive discussion of this topic, of whether this issue was something the council or the city manager should be in charge of making this decision. It was decided that the City Manager Lucas, who expressed his approval of Laird’s reasons to relocate, should be in charge of the decision. The motion to approve Laird’s office relocation failed due to lack of a second.
Item 7E under Agenda Request was presented by City of DFS Planning Director Kelly
Schultz regarding “Planning Consulting Services Request for Qualifications” (approved by the council) and “Meeting Notice Requirements.” Prior to the February Planning Board meeting, questions about meeting notice requirements were raised. In reference to the Meeting Notice Requirements: Following a meeting with legal staff, Clay B. Adkinson prepared a written legal opinion in response to the questions; Clayton J. M. Adkinson presented this document to city council at the February 26,2018 meeting. Legal staff has recommended that planning staff ask council to consider adopting the opinion paper as the city’s official policy for future notices. This issue called for further consideration.
Next on the agenda was a presentation by DFS City Marshal Mark Weeks regarding “Surplus
Police Equipment Donation” – a request to donate surplus police equipment to Puerto Rico for their use. A statement from Weeks to City Manager Danny Lucas reads, “The police department has replaced equipment and many duty items over the years as their effective quality and/or usefulness is diminished. These surplus items and equipment are no longer of value to the city of DeFuniak Springs, but may be valuable to less fortunate agencies. The Orlando Police Department has reached out to us and other agencies to coordinate the transfer and deliver of surplus items. Due to limited storage space that the city has, I request permission to transfer the following items to the Territory of Puerto Rico via Orlando Police Dept. for use by their police forces.” These items included equipment removed from 10 discontinued patrol vehicles, outdated radio equipment and other items such as duty belts, gun holsters and uniform items. The request was approved by the council.
Next the city manager provided some information on the DeFuniak Springs Charter, a
draft finance director job description and Institute of Senior Professionals Reports 1) Opportunity and Needs; and 2) The Road Ahead. More on this information can be found on the online copy of the April 9 Regular Meeting agenda on the city’s website – www.defuniaksprings.net. After the city manager’s presentation were Executive Requests. Council member Kermit Wright made an executive request for a Special Events Committee appointment – approved. Council member Ron Kelley presented the Lt. Ewart Sconiers Highway resolution – approved. Council member Wayne Graham also had a special events committee appointment request and this was also approved. After no city attorney, public works, city manager report or council comments the meeting was adjourned.
The next DeFuniak Springs City Council meeting will be held on April 23 at DFS City Hall at 6 p.m.
Story and photo by JENNA BAILEY