Freeport City Council Approves Rodeo, Discusses Recreational Trail Grant [PREMIUM CONTENT]

DISTRICT THREE WALTON COUNTY COMMISSiONER MELANIE NIPPER requested approval from the council to get information to local veterans on services they can use by including an information sheet put together in a collaborative effort with Walton Deputy County Administrator Dede Hinote in a monthly utility bill statement. The council quickly and unanimously approved Nipper’s request.

Story by JEFFREY POWELL

The Freeport City Council held its only regularly scheduled meeting of the month on Nov. 14, 2017. Approximately 20 members of the general public were in attendance. Council member William McCormick was not present.

After approving the consent agenda the council was approached by Westonwood Ranch Founder/Director Lindy Wood who asked for and was given approval to hold a rodeo in Hammock Bay on March 23 and 24 of 2018. The rodeo is an annual event held in concert with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. Wood also gave a short presentation concerning Westonwood Ranch will be constructed in Portland. The ranch will be a farm based learning program for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities. Construction is currently slated to begin in January 2018.

Under the finance heading, finance officer Sara Bowers asked the council to give her specific direction concerning a forensic audit of the city finances. She hopes to “narrow” the focus of the audit and asked the council to give her time to meet their requests. Bowers said she had done quite a bit of research on the matter and would bring more information to the council by the next regularly scheduled meeting in December.

Freeport City Planner Latilda Neel Asked for and received permission to hold the first reading of a land development code (LDC) amendment which would not allow transfer stations within the city limits. She also asked the council to allow her to continue advertising for a planning technician. Need had picked an applicant to fill the position but they could not come to terms concerning salary. The council approved her request and the position will be readvertised.

Interim Parks Director Charlie Simmons discussed with the council a recreational trail grant which had been in the works for some time. The trail will be constructed just southwest of the sports complex and a portion of the trail will be wheelchair accessible. The expansion will also be home to 18 more holes of disc golf. Council members approved the signing of the approximately $157,000 grant.

Under the engineering heading Freeport engineer Cliff Knauer spoke concerning a no-wake zone near Marina Village, Marina Village representatives had approached the city concerning the process and asked the city to pursue the matter. Knauer briefed the council that the matter would cost approximately $6,500 and that he felt the property owners should pay a portion of the cost. Council members asked Mayor Russ Barley to contact Marina Village and discuss the issue.