Freeport City Council cancels March 21 Night At The Park event [PREMIUM]

FREEPORT CITY COUNCIL discusses Night At The Park Bonfire, scheduled for March 21.

Story and photo by STACY MARTIN

NOTE: This story covers the remaining agenda business of the Freeport regular council meeting held on March 10.  Part 1 of that meeting was covered in the March 11 edition of the DeFuniak Springs Herald-Breeze.  

On March 10, the city of Freeport held its regular council meeting.  The meeting began with Request for Placement on the City Council Agenda:

Emily Rogers, on behalf of Alan R. Gibson, presented to the council a water bill issue regarding a statement from the property of Gibson. Rogers stated that back in February of 2018, the city did a meter reading due to the water consumption increase. Rogers then stated that Gibson had called the city to have the water turned off. Rogers states that according to her notes, PVC was broke and fixed by the city; however, water department staff was not there to confirm that was the course the city took. With a lack of documentation from the city and Gibson, the council voted to table the issue until the next council meeting on March 26.  

Next was from Teresa McCaleb stated that she had a tenant on her property who relocated.  When McCaleb went out to the property, she found the water hose turned on and left running under the shed. She asked for the council for any assistance. The council stated that they would be willing to work with her on an extension of time to pay back the bill but do not offer waivers for open running water. A motion was made to allow the bill to paid over a 12-month period. The motion was approved.  

The council then voted to approve the consent agenda and the regular agenda with additions and deletions.  

Parks department:  Charlie Simons presented updates to the council concerning the handicap accessible trail; the trail is close to being completed, by the end of the month. In Marse Landing the restrooms have been opened back up and will remain open until 5 p.m. during the weekdays and open all hours over the weekend. The concession stand storage will be completed after landscaping is finished.  

The third annual Night at the Park Bonfire scheduled for Saturday, March 21 has, in compliance with CDC Heath and Safety recommendations,been canceled. Simmons also gave updates from the project manager position. Closure on the American Legion property is almost completed. This property will be a part of the city’s government complex. In an update on the Waste Water Treatment Facility, Simmons stated that the screw press had been ordered and they are waiting for its arrival.   

The next item discussed came from Mayor Russ Barley, stating that the inmate contract will be up in May; however they are wanting to go forward with renewing their contract, changing the contract from one year to four years, with negotiation for cancellation on either side. The council voted to approve the contract with the condition of allowing for a 60-day notice of cancellation from both sides.  

Planning department: LDC Ordinance and Appendix B: Special Events 1st Reading – and request to Advertise for 2nd reading. This item has typo fixes and information in order to reduce liability when special events are held. The motion was carried, and 1st reading heard.  Second reading and a public hearing will be held at the first meeting in April.  

The next item presented was the LDC Ordinance of Appendix I: 331 South Corridor Standards, 1st Reading, and request Staff to Advertise for 2nd Reading in April.  An issue was corrected concerning the signage language on the signage. Council made a motion and voted in favor of the request with one nay.  

Special Event waiver request and permit application by OneBlood for a Blood Drive April 25 at Hammock Bay Lake Club.  A motion was made and carried unanimously. 

Engineering Department: U.S. 331 North sewer expansion easements, a request was made by the department to accept the easements for the Preserve and Owls Head Farms Developments. The council voted in favor of the request.  

Next item, engineering requested the approval of the U.S. 331 North Sewer Expansion engineering proposal. The council voted in favor of the request. 

The third item presented to the council from engineering concerned the SR-20 Forcemain Upgrade & Jolly Bay Road repair bid results and award.  The low bidder goes to North Florida Construction. There are additional items in the proposal not budgeted for. However, engineering states that funds are available in the impact fees.  A motion was made to award the project by the lowest bidder North Florida Construction.  Once the council receives the contract, they will then deal with the allocation of impact fees to cover the overage not budgeted for.  

The last item presented by engineering was the SRF Phase I WW Improvements – Proposed change order #4, which includes an increase in price to add an additional 300 feet of forcemain to tie in at accessible depth, an existing bore inside the road to increase pipe, valve, fittings, and an additional 20-day extension on the project. Motion was carried unanimously by the council.  

Under old business, the council addressed the pending list, which discussed and clarified several projects and updates on the list, including looking at using the city’s phrase “Anchor Here Grow Here” into more future use by the city staff and employees.  

The next council meeting will be announced at a later date.