Story by JEFFREY POWELL
The Freeport City Council held its second regularly scheduled meeting of the month on May 25, 2017. All council members were present with approximately 25 members of the general public also in attendance.
The meeting began with a recreation master plan final report from members of the West Florida Regional Planning Council. The plan is intended to provide the city of Freeport’s Park and Recreation department with guidance regarding future development of the city’s public parks, recreational facilities, and recreational programs. The organization will also help to procure funding for the final plan after approval by the city. Facility accessibility, maintenance, quality of life, connectivity and natural resource preservation were the five key points discussed during the power point presentation.
Under the city clerk heading Freeport City Clerk Becky Podraza asked for and received permission to hire a consultant from Quest management to assist in revamping the city’s personnel policies and procedure manual. She pointed out that the current plan had fallen short of the city’s needs. The cost of the consultant would be approximately $3,200. She also discussed the city’s new web site which she hopes will be up and running by June 8. A training session has been scheduled before that date to brief city employees concerning the website’s operation.
Under the legal heading City Attorney Clay Adkinson discussed the county’s proposal for Freeport to waive tap fees for the Brandon Oaks subdivision. Brandon Oaks is located just south and west of the intersection of U.S. 331 and Bay Grove road and has been plagued with drainage and septic tank issues since its creation which was approved by the county. Hammock Bay developer Jay Odom spoke during the discussion and pledged to request that all of the tap fees that he had ever paid be refunded to him if the city approved the county’s proposal. Council member Kasey Cuchens pointed out that Freeport had met all of their obligations to the county and felt the proposal was “unfair and unreasonable.” Adkinson contended that this issue could be considered a health and safety emergency due to sewage run-off in the area which makes its way to neighboring properties and ultimately the surrounding waterways.