Story by JEFFREY POWELL
FREEPORT – The Freeport City Council held their only regularly scheduled meeting of the month on Dec. 13, 2016, at Freeport City Hall. The meeting was attended by approximately 15 members of the general public. Councilwoman Jennifer Laird was not in attendance.
The meeting began with a short briefing by Susan McMinamin who recently participated in the Florida Senior Games. She thanked the council for supporting her efforts and she showed them her second place medal for the 200 back stroke. She plans to represent the area at the national senior games in June.
The second order of business conducted by Mayor Russ Barley was recognition of a job well done by Assistant Parks Director Chris Campbell. Campbell recently noticed a gentleman near one of the city parks having difficulty getting around. By the time Campbell had reached the man he was in some form of medical distress. Campbell alerted authorities and the man was looked after by EMS personnel. Mayor Barley and the council gave Campbell a round of applause.
Under the planning and zoning heading Freeport City Planner Latilda Hughes-Neel asked for and received a special event permit for a Freeport High School 5K fun run which will be held on Jan. 21, at Hammock Bay. She also briefed the council concerning the possible location of a new wastewater plant. The 20- acre plot off of U.S. 331 needed one final geotechnical evaluation which costs approximately $750. The council approved the cost.
Under legal matters city attorney Clay Adkinson introduced the first reading of a “no-wake” zone in Four Mile Creek. He also spoke briefly concerning the “one Walton” interlocal agreement between Walton County, DeFuniak Springs and Freeport. He mentioned that DeFuniak Springs had approved the measure the night before and felt Walton County would approve at their next meeting. The agreement would help expedite getting water and sewer service along the length of U.S. 331. The council approved the agreement.
Under Councilwoman Janice McLean’s heading the discussion about sewer grinder pumps was discussed yet again. She is proposing to turn over the replacement and maintenance of these pumps to the homeowner. However there were members of the audience that felt this would cause a financial burden to customers if the pump needed replacing. McLean contends the $7 per month maintenance fee is inadequate to continue providing this service. She has pointed out, at several past meetings, that there are some customers that misuse the pumps and Freeport sewer personnel are frequently called to those homes causing a financial burden to the city.
Under the parks Department Chris Campbell spoke about a continuing problem at the Freeport Regional Sport Complex. He told the council that someone is still doing “doughnuts” with a motorcycle on the playing fields. He also said he has had to contend with several fires which appear to have been deliberately set. A Walton County Sheriff’s officer who attended the meting said they would step up patrols in the area.
The next Freeport City Council meeting will be on Jan. 9, at 9 a.m.
Story by JEFFREY POWELL